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Secretary's Messages


  • This week, our agency, along with the Department of Children and Families, hosted the Fourth Annual National Faith Symposium, “Our Children, Our Future: Restoring Hope.” The symposium was held at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando and the two-day event brought nearly 400 faith leaders from around the country to share ideas and best practices for integrating faith-based organizations into our work to help at-risk children, youth and families.
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  • On Tuesday, I had the honor of speaking at the 2013 Tallahassee Community College Scholarship lunch. In 2008, TCC started its New Start Scholarship, which is awarded to individuals who have been involved in the juvenile justice system and Tuesday’s lunch recognized Kierra Howell, the first New Start recipient to graduate.
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  • This week, I had the pleasure of joining the Office of Prevention at a community conversation in Gulf County. The meeting was well attended and local residents took the time to share their concerns regarding at-risk and delinquent youth, as well as the many ongoing efforts taking place in the community to steer troubled youth toward positive decisions that will help them avoid the juvenile justice system.
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  • This week, I had the pleasure of joining Office of Prevention at two community conversations, in Madison and Gilchrest counties. We had great attendance at both meetings and I was thrilled that DJJ staff from the region and local residents took the time to share their concerns regarding at-risk and delinquent youth, as well as the many ongoing efforts taking place in the community to steer troubled youth toward positive decisions that will help them avoid the juvenile justice system.
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  • On Monday, Deputy Secretary Christy Daly, Chief of Staff Jason Welty and I attended the Tallahassee screening of Kids for Cash, hosted by The James Madison Institute, at the Challenger Learning Center IMAX
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  • The Interagency Human Trafficking Workgroup, which I chair, hosted the 2013 Florida Human Trafficking Summit yesterday in Tampa on the campus of the University of South Florida.
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  • This week marked the first Interim Committee Week at the Capitol prior to the 2014 Legislative Session, and Legislative Affairs Director Jon Menendez and Deputy Director Marcus Smith were busy sharing DJJ’s priorities with state lawmakers.
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  • I was honored to attend the Juvenile Justice Leadership Network (JJLN) meeting in Washington, D.C this past week on the campus of Georgetown University.
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  • This week, Deputy Secretary Christy Daly; Assistant Secretary Joni Wimmer, Probation and Community Intervention; Assistant Secretary Laura Moneyham, Residential Services; Mark Greenwald, Director of Research and Planning; Mike Baglivio, Senior Research Analyst and expert in evidence-based practices; and Jackie Young, Program Administrator, attended an all-sites meeting in Georgetown to discuss the Department's implementation of the Juvenile Justice System Improvement Project (JJSIP).
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  • I would like to update you on our ongoing efforts to increase the Department’s efficiency, accountability, and transparency as part of the contract reform initiative, but before I get started I want to make note that we are able to implement these innovations because of the hard work and dedication of all of you.
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  • On Wednesday, I had the privilege of presenting our Roadmap to System Excellence to the attendees of the 84th Annual Criminal Justice Training Institute in Orlando.
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  • You have probably heard there was an incident Saturday evening at Avon Park Youth Academy, a residential facility in Polk County that houses males between 16 and 19 years of age, that received a great deal of media attention and caused damage to some of the program’s buildings.
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  • On Tuesday, Deputy Secretary Christy Daly attended the State Advisory Group (SAG) meeting in Daytona Beach where she spoke with SAG members about the status of DJJ’s priorities: the 985 Legislative Rewrite, Budget and Roadmap to System Excellence.
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  • I am excited to share with you the updated Roadmap to System Excellence but first want to take this opportunity to say thank you. Thank you for your continued hard work, your valuable input on DJJ’s reform efforts and your continued commitment to moving this agency forward with the goals outlined in the Roadmap.
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  • Thanks to the hard work of our public servants, Floridians are experiencing the excitement of an incredible economic turnaround. Our unemployment rate is below the national average and our housing market is on the upswing
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  • The protestors at the Capitol, whom I met with on Monday, have made it clear that one of their biggest issues is school arrests. As I told them, our Department is making great strides in reducing the number of arrests in our schools and I am very happy to share the statistics to support that statement.
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  • Florida’s Pace Center for Girls has been awarded a three-year investment of $3.5 million from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation (EMCF), consisting of funding from EMCF and the federal Social Innovation Fund (SIF).
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  • Our goal of establishing a system of excellence for the care of at-risk and delinquent youth continues. Over the last two months, DJJ has been working to identify and appoint a Headquarters Reform Specialist along with Reform Specialists statewide in each circuit
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  • I would like to send my heartfelt congratulations to Justice, the dog from the Miami-Dade RJDC, for becoming an official Pet Therapy Dog and Canine Good Citizen. Justice passed his exams last Saturday with flying colors
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  • The Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency, Chapter 2, has selected Vickie Harris, DJJ’s Budget Bureau Chief, as the recipient of the 2013 Annual Distinguished Service Award in the area of Juvenile Justice.
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