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Secretary's Message

May 17, 2013

Wansley WaltersDear DJJ team members:


Welcome to my weekly letter. I am pleased to share the following news and announcements.


LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: The legislative team is wrapping up post-session documents from the 2013 Florida Legislative Session and is already working with DJJ staff and DJJ statutory stakeholders to draft proposals to revise Chapter 985, Florida Statutes. Over the coming months we will compile suggested revisions, formulate draft legislation and engage with stakeholders to present a proposal that will reinforce and support Roadmap to System Excellence priorities.


Gold Seal From Ministry of InteriorUNITED ARAB EMIRATES ENVOY: Last Thursday, the Miami Dade Juvenile Detention Center hosted an envoy from the City of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. The group was led by Mr. Ivor Hall, from the Ministry of Interior and Brigadier Ahmed M. N. Muharami, Director of the Human Rights Department. The gentlemen toured the facility and discussed policies and procedures, youth programming, reducing youth in detention and the humane caring manner in which youth are treated. The goal of this visit was to revamp Abu Dhabi’s four detention centers using the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice as their model. Brigadier Muharami presented Superintendent Wolf with a gold seal from the Ministry of Interior as a token of appreciation.

CONTRACT MANAGER TRAINING: The Department has just released its online contract manager and monitor training course in CORE. The course provides an overview of the roles and responsibilities of employees who are assigned to perform contract management or monitor functions in accordance with Florida statutes. Contract managers are required to attend a DFS-sponsored training every two years; through CORE, these managers and monitors can complete the training without waiting for DFS registration to open. I would like to thank the Offices of Program Accountability and Staff Development & Training for developing this class and making it available to our department staff. If you have any questions regarding CORE training, please contact Beth Davis at 850-717-2629.

RESIDENTIAL UPDATE: The Pensacola Boys Base continued demonstrating their commitment to public service last weekend when staff and youth volunteered at the Escambia County Relay for Life – for the 14th year in a row, I might add. Fifteen youth and eleven staff began by setting up for the relay last Thursday and continued to help throughout the event, including breakdown and cleanup on Sunday. I would like to recognize the following staff for participating and setting an outstanding example for PBB’s young men: Charlie Brown, Vincent Charles, Ricky Crews, Ralph Cunnington, Jonathan Wiggins, Antione Jones, Brian Leverette, William Freeman Paul Pacheco, Albert McKinley Jr., Sylvester Scott, and Superintendent Oliver Jones.

PREVENTION UPDATE: In Circuit 12, a Faith Forum was held last Thursday at the Bayside Community Church in Sarasota, and according to Director Andy Hindman it was an extremely successful event. More than 80 faith partners, chaplains and DJJ staff were on hand to raise awareness on issues impacting at-risk youth and their families. The staff educated faith communities on the juvenile justice system and how to connect with us; discussed the resources available to the faith community and faith-based organizations; and provided training to enhance faith-based programs and ministries through an array of workshops.


Prevention Update


Detention UpdateDETENTION UPDATE: Former ESPN Radio broadcaster Wayne Soares visited the Manatee RJDC on Tuesday. Soares, who is also an actor, author, and motivational speaker, has a very dynamic personality and left a lasting impact on the youth at the facility. He used inspiring stories from sports figures such as Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan whom he interviewed during his time in the radio business to bring a powerful message to the youth. By the time his speech ended, Soares had made such a connection with the youth that they began to ask him for his autograph, which he graciously accommodated. I would like to personally thank Mr. Soares for his time spent with our youth.               

(From left to right: Edwin Kelly, Superintendent of Manatee RJDC; Inspirational Guest Speaker Wayne Soares (former ESPN Radio Broadcaster) ; Dr. Martin Von Holden, Senior Behavioral Analyst, OHS, DJJ)                            .

SAFETY UPDATE: I am happy to report that our department is trending in the right direction. The number of first reports of injury or illness is down 18% from the last fiscal year, and the numbers overall were down in seven of the nine categories. For the first time, there was no slip, trip or fall injuries reported. Thank you all for practicing personal safety and responsibility for the good of everyone in our workplace.

SUSPICIOUS MAIL: Recently employees in Tallahassee state buildings reported to authorities they had received suspicious mail. Authorities investigated these incidents and determined that the mail did not contain harmful agents and everyone in those buildings was safe. That said, these events remind us that receiving suspicious mail can happen to anyone and everyone at DJJ needs to be prepared. Training on how to recognize and handle suspicious mail can be found in CORE on the NEOP safety class, the annual CORE safety class and in the DJJ Safety Handbook. The procedures are also listed on the Bomb Threat Card and should be on every employee's desk next to their phone. The DJJ Safety Handbook and the Bomb Threat Card is posted on the DJJ intranet site under Safety at Work. Thanks again to everyone for keeping our workplaces safe!

CONTINUING EDUCATION: I am pleased to announce that Florida State University will now be accepting the state-employee tuition waiver for several graduate programs in the College of Business beginning the 2013 fall semester. The deadline to apply for admission for the 2013 fall semester is June 1, 2013, which is fast approaching. I encourage any employee interested in continuing their education to take full advantage of this opportunity. Interested applicants can click here for more information.

Wansley Walters



PS: Please send any noteworthy or newsworthy items for consideration in my weekly letter to the Communications Office at News@djj.state.fl.us or call 850.921.5900. Submissions are considered on a space-available basis and may be edited for clarity and length. Thank you for your cooperation.