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Secretary's Messages


  • This last week marked a milestone in my career of serving at-risk and delinquent youth in the great state of Florida. I am honored and humbled to share that the Florida Senate unanimously confirmed my appointment as Secretary for the Department of Juvenile Justice.
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  • I was honored to join PACE Center for Girls CEO Mary Marx and over 300 girls from PACE centers statewide as we observed PACE Day on February 3rd at the Florida Capitol during a ceremony on the 22nd floor.
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  • Last Tuesday we celebrated the 2016 DJJ Youth Success Day both in Tallahassee and around our state. Each year, the Department (DJJ), members of the Florida Juvenile Justice Association (FJJA), the Florida Juvenile Justice Foundation (FJJF), and youth program providers celebrate the successes of not only our juvenile justice system but of our youth.
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  • Over the weekend, I attended the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators (CJCA) Winter Business Meeting in New Orleans. CJCA’s Winter Business Meeting is one of three national meetings convened annually as part of CJCA’s mission to promote and facilitate leadership development and the exchange of knowledge and philosophies at the top administrative levels of juvenile justice and juvenile corrections.
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  • Last weekend, I attended the Florida Police Chiefs Association (FPCA)’s Board meeting in Ponte Vedra Beach, which coincided with FPCA’s Winter Conference and Training Session.
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  • Governor Rick Scott proclaimed last week as Florida First Responders Appreciation Week, to honor those law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMTs who bravely and selflessly risk their lives every day to protect our families and communities.
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  • Happy New Year! I hope these first few days of 2016 have been peaceful and relaxing and that you’ve enjoyed spending time in the company of your family and loved ones. Now that the New Year is upon us, I look forward to what is ahead for our agency and for all the exciting things this year will bring.
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  • Chief of Research and Data Integrity Mark Greenwald and Civil Citation Coordinator Theda Roberts participated in a plenary panel during the Smart Justice Alliance’s Justice Summit in Sarasota last week.
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  • The Juvenile Justice System Improvement Project (JJSIP) roll outs in Circuits 3 and 10 are nowcompleted with the conclusion of the case studies exercise that were done on Dec. 7 and 8, respectively.
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  • I was honored to give the welcome address at the Florida Coalition for Children’s (FCC) “Rally in Tally,” event at the Capitol. The “Rally in Tally” allows the opportunity for advocates, especially youth, to meet one-on-one with legislators and share their stories and experiences.
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  • On Monday, I was honored to give the opening remarks at the Florida School-Justice Partnership Kick-Off Summit in Tampa. I also had the privilege to serve on an opening session panel with Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente, Department of Children and Families Secretary Mike Carroll and Superintendent of the Orange County Schools Dr. Barbara Jenkins.
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  • On Monday and Tuesday of last week I had the opportunity to participate in the “50-State Forum,” in Austin, Texas presented by The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center.
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  • I was honored to deliver the keynote address at the opening ceremony of the 2015 See the Girl Summit in Jacksonville, hosted by the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center.
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  • This week, our agency in collaboration with the Department of Children and Families and the Florida Faith-Based and Community-Based Advisory Council hosted the 2015 National Faith Symposium at the Rosen Center in Orlando.
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  • I would like to take a moment and share with you all some information on a very important cause. October is National Bullying Prevention Month and DJJ joins with the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet (FCYC) and other state agencies, school districts, faith-based organizations, and other community stakeholders in recognizing and supporting this issue.
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  • Last week, DJJ staff traveled to Phoenix for the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) 2015 Inter-Site Conference, sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The conference hosted over 800 JDAI professionals to discuss major accomplishments and review best practices and outcomes.
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  • It is my great pleasure to recognize Juvenile Detention Officer Steiner Jean-Louis as our DJJ Employee of the Month! Officer Jean-Louis has been with our Department for twenty years and currently serves as a juvenile detention officer at Hillsborough Regional Juvenile Detention Center.
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  • I am overjoyed to announce that DJJ has been selected as the 2015 recipient of the Public Organization of the Year Award by the Able Trust. The Department, chosen for its unwavering support of the Able Trust’s mission to provide employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities, offers the High School High Tech (HSHT) Program in its residential programs.
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  • Last week was a full and productive time for our agency and providers as we continued our work in serving Florida’s at-risk youth and families. I hope you will take a moment to read the stories about the accomplishments of our agency staff, our colleagues, and the youth in our care.
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  • The 2015-2016 Florida State Employees’ Charitable Campaign (FSECC) is officially underway as of September 1st. The online pledge system is now open for payroll and one-time pledges and will close on November 6th.
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