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Secretary's Messages


  • 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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  • We recently reached a great victory when the It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget was signed into law. With the support of Florida’s public servants, our state has experienced incredible growth during the past three years.
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  • This week I traveled to Philadelphia for the 21st Annual Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI) National Inter-Site Conference presented by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
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  • This week I was the featured speaker at the National Conference on Preventing Crime in the Black Community in Jacksonville. This conference represents a collaborative effort to foster communication and action among practitioners through the sharing of innovative ideas and prevention strategies that have been successful in the black community.
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  • It is a bittersweet moment that I share that I will be leaving the agency as of June 30th. Reflecting on the past 3 ½ years, I am so extremely proud of all that DJJ has accomplished in that short period of time.
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