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Secretary's Message

November 9, 2012

Wansley Walters

Dear DJJ team members:

 

Secretary Walters is on annual leave today so she asked me to prepare her weekly letter. Please allow me to share some recent news and announcements.

INTERNATIONAL HONOR: Secretary Walters was one of eight recipients of the 2012 Juvenile Justice Without Borders International Award presented by the International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO) during the International Youth Justice Convention. The IJJO grants the award once every two years to individuals and organizations for outstanding achievements in juvenile justice research, advocacy and intervention under the auspices of the United Nations. Also among the award recipients were Tawatchai Thaikyo, deputy permanent secretary of the Ministry of Justice in Thailand. Thaikyo said Walters’ leadership of the Miami-Dade County Juvenile Services Department prior to her appointment as DJJ secretary inspired him to work for juvenile justice reform in Thailand. Other recipients included Georges Loinger of France, who organized the escape of Jewish children from Germany into France and Switzerland during World War Two, and Dr. Jaap E. Doek of Amsterdam, a founding member of the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. For more information on recipients, click here.

ROADMAP UPDATE: The first in a series of Roadmap to System Excellence Town Hall meetings will be held in Tallahassee on Thursday, Nov. 15 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Ghazvini Center for Healthcare Education, 1528 Surgeons Drive. You may click here to register. This meeting will serve Leon County and the surrounding areas including Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Liberty, Madison, Taylor and Wakulla counties. Stakeholders, employees, civic leaders, parents, youth and the public are encouraged to attend and contribute ideas to shape the path to juvenile justice reform.

 

The second video in a series of interviews about juvenile delinquency, reform and the agency’s Roadmap to System Excellence now can be viewed by clicking here. Please visit the Roadmap webpage for more information, including interviews on juvenile delinquency and reform and letters of support.

 

Seven more Town Hall meetings across Florida are planned for November and December. Please visit the Roadmap Calendar of Town Hall Meetings for dates and locations.

 

COMMITMENTS DROP: The number of monthly residential youth commitments continues to plummet and is now at an all-time DJJ low. The number has declined impressively to 267 in October 2012 from more than 650 in April 2009 (the chart below tells the story). The drop is evidence of successful DJJ reform efforts to get kids the right help at the right time by emphasizing community-based front-end services, which are less costly than residential commitment and more effective in rehabilitating misdemeanant youth and those who are at low-risk to reoffend. Kudos to probation and residential personnel on this achievement!

Number of monthly residential commitments drop 

DETENTION UPDATE: This week, DJJ detention center superintendents from across the state met in Tallahassee for a training conference. The purpose of the meeting was to provide mission critical information to superintendents who directly implement and provide oversight of detention reform throughout the state. This training also provided them with clear expectations and the tools to create and sustain culture change within detention services. Among the training topics were program area overviews, county cost share, Ergometrics, human trafficking, ethical management, establishing effective community partnerships and more.

 DJJ Detention Superintendents

DJJ detention superintendents pose for a group photo during this week’s training conference in Tallahassee

STAKEHOLDER OUTREACH: This week, I attended the Workforce Florida, Inc. Board meeting in Orlando. DJJ is working to strengthen its relationship with Workforce Boards statewide to identify employment opportunities for DJJ-involved youth. Also this week, Legislative Director Ana Maria Sanchez presented DJJ’s 2013 legislative initiatives and Legislative Budget Request to the November board meeting of the Florida Juvenile Justice Association in Orlando.

GUARDIAN AD LITEM (GAL): GAL seeks volunteers to represent children before the court and social service agencies. Volunteering requires approximately six hours per month. Guardians are trained and supervised by GAL staff, including attorneys. To become certified as a volunteer GAL, you must be at least 21 years old, complete a criminal background check and a 30-hour pre-service training program, which includes classroom instruction and out-of-class assignments. Guardians create relationships that can make a huge impact on children’s lives. To learn more please click here.

PROBATION KUDOS: We were pleased to receive the following letter recently from state Senator Evelyn Lynn (who is leaving the Florida Senate this year due to term limits) regarding Circuit 7 Chief Probation Officer (CPO) David Kerr:

 

Dear Secretary Walters:

As I reflect on my years in the Legislature, my staff and I recall the invaluable assistance we have received in our efforts to respond to our constituents. We join together in thanking these individuals for working so closely with us.

David Kerr, one of your staff members, ranks at the top of the list of individuals who has been such an asset to us. His friendly, professional demeanor and willingness to go above and beyond in helping solve the various problems we have faced has allowed our office to excel in constituent service. David is a pleasure to work with and, as we close our office, it is important that he be acknowledged for his dedication and commitment to the State of Florida. You are fortunate to have him on your staff and it is good to know that the State of Florida employs people with his sense of dedication and commitment.

Sincerely,

Evelyn Lynn                            Kathleen Roe                          Frankie Robert

State Senator, District 7          Legislative Assistant               Legislative Assistant

CIRCUIT 19 PROBATION KUDOS: Thanks to Unit 109 JPO supervisor Dorothy L. Malik and JPOs Karen L. Kinman, Brian Birely, Anthony R. Ferrino, Jr., Betty L. Preble, Margery Coto, Gregory A. Shahood and CPO Wydee’a Wilson for participating in the Domestic Violence Supply Drive during October in observance of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Thanks also to Karen Kinman at the State Attorney’s Office for coordinating the collection of hygiene and household items for the local domestic violence shelters.

EMPLOYEE VOLUNTEERS: Kudos and thanks to Circuit 16 Probation employee Paula Furey, a reservist for the Federal Emergency Management Administration. She was deployed on Nov. 2 to Brooklyn, New York, where she will assist with logistics in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. We wish her safe travel while she helps others in need.

INSURANCE CORRECTIONS: The correction period for the 2013 Open Enrollment ends at 6:00 pm EST on Nov. 16, 2012. If you need to make a correction to your State Group Insurance benefits, you must call the People First Service Center at (866) 663-4735 by the Nov. 16 deadline; otherwise, you will only be able to make allowable changes during the plan year with a qualifying status change event. The service center is open from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm EST weekdays. If you have questions, please contact Margo Rogers at margo.rogers@djj.state.fl.us or Morrison King at Morrison.king@djj.state.fl.us.

 

As we observe Veterans Day on Monday, Nov. 12, please join me in saluting our nation’s armed forces and all who have served to keep us free. Enjoy a safe and peaceful holiday.

 

Sincerely,

 

Christy Daly

Deputy Secretary

 

PS: Please send any noteworthy or newsworthy items for consideration in my weekly letter to Communications Director C. J. Drake at cj.drake@djj.state.fl.us or call 850.921.5905. Submissions are considered on a space-available basis and may be edited for clarity and length. Thank you for your cooperation.
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