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Secretary's Messages


  • On Monday, I made several staff and site visits in Central Florida. Monday morning Central Regional Detention Director Cathy Lake and I visited the Orange RJDC where we met with Superintendent Jeff Lonton and his Assistant Superintendents Roosevelt Butler and Larry Eason. Jeff provided us with a tour of the facility and introduced us to his hardworking staff.
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  • On Friday, I was honored to participate in the Trauma Informed Care event at the Betty Easley Conference Center in Tallahassee. As many of you already know, Trauma Informed Care is an approach for engaging those with a history of trauma which recognizes those symptoms of trauma and acknowledges the role it plays in their lives.
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  • Florida’s public servants have been working hard to improve our great state, and we are excited to see their hard work pave the way for Florida families and private-sector businesses to succeed.
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  • This past week, members of the Annie E. Casey Foundation staff made a visit to DJJ Headquarters in Tallahassee to discuss ongoing technical assistance provided by the Casey Foundation to the agency.
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  • On Thursday and Friday, I was honored to be a part of the 2014 Human Trafficking Summit on the campus of the University of South Florida in Tampa. Our agency was well represented along with members from the Department of Children and Families, Department of Health, Department of Economic Opportunity, as well as United States Congressman David Jolly.
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  • Last Monday I attended the Steering Committee on Families and Children in the Court in West Palm Beach. The Steering Committee on Families and Children in the Court works diligently to encourage and facilitate family court efforts by establishing a fully integrated, comprehensive approach to handling all cases involving children and families.
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  • On Tuesday, Mark Greenwald and I were honored to join Director of the Missouri Children’s Division Tim Decker for a panel discussion, “Kids Not Inmates: reforming Juvenile Justice,” held at the University of Florida Law School in Gainesville.
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  • On Monday and Tuesday, the Juvenile Justice Systems Improvement Project (JJSIP) rolled out in Circuit 1, with a meeting of the stakeholders from Escambia and Santa Rosa counties on Monday and training for the DJJ probation and commitment staff for all of Circuit 1 on Tuesday.
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  • On Monday, I attended a recognition breakfast in honor of Florida Missing Children’s Day on the 22nd floor of the Capitol Building. Celebrating its 15th year, Florida Missing Children’s Day brings parents, children, law enforcement officers, and citizens together to remember Florida's missing children who are still missing and those who will never come home again.
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  • Last Friday I was excited to accompany Assistant Secretary for Probation Tim Niermann and other DJJ staff members on a tour of the newly opened Goodwill Prosperity Center in Tallahassee.
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  • We recently announced that in the upcoming legislative session we will propose an increase in Florida’s per-pupil spending to the highest level in our state’s history.
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  • Last weekend I was honored to speak at the Florida Youth Commission’s Annual Retreat at the Pat Thomas Law Enforcement Center in Midway. The Youth Commission is comprised of youth leaders statewide who advise the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet of key issues facing our youth.
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  • I was honored to give the welcome address congratulating the newest class of juvenile probation officers (JPOs) in a ceremony today at DJJ Headquarters in Tallahassee. JPOs ensure youth comply with court requirements and assist teens and their families in accessing services that support the youths’ success, such as counseling and skills development.
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  • The Florida Human Trafficking Summit announces the call for nominations for the 2014 Human Trafficking Prevention Awards.
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  • I was excited to sit down with the Florida Juvenile Justice Association’s new leadership team on Wednesday here at DJJ Headquarters. I was joined by both Communications Director Heather DiGiacomo and Legislative Affairs Director Jon Menendez where we discussed a wide variety of topics.
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  • I was excited to attend the quarterly Florida Children and Youth Cabinet meeting yesterday in Pensacola and am thrilled that former Secretary Wansley Walters will remain in her position as Chairwoman of this prestigious cabinet.
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  • We recently took the time to honor the brave men and women of Florida who have served in the United States military. Thanks in part to the help of our dedicated public servants, more than 1,700 veterans were presented with the Governor’s Veterans Service Award during honor ceremonies in Tampa, Fort Myers, Hollywood, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Orlando, Pensacola, and Panama City.
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  • I was honored to kick off the first meeting of the newly formed Detention Risk Assessment Instrument (DRAI) statewide workgroup and training team this week at the Florida Public Safety Institute in Quincy.
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  • As I sit here typing this message, it is difficult to put into words the surreal feeling of knowing that I will no longer be serving as Secretary of this agency after Monday. I shared on the Roadmap tours how much I enjoyed meeting the many staff from around the state that dedicate their lives to making Florida a better place for at-risk and delinquent youth.
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  • I was honored to attend the Florida Cabinet meeting on Tuesday with Governor Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, CFO Jeff Atwater and Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam. My presence was requested to be on hand for the signing of the Human Trafficking Bill which I will speak in detail later in this newsletter, but was surprised when Governor Scott presented me with a proclamation for my years of service as the head of the Department of Juvenile Justice.
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