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Secretary's Message

July 5, 2013

Secretary Walters’ Weekly Letter

I am so proud to share every week the great work occurring here at the Department of Juvenile Justice, and I hope you will take a moment to read the stories about the accomplishments of our colleagues and the youth in our care. I am always looking for opportunities to showcase DJJ employees and the work you do – on and off the clock – to enrich your communities. I know there is even more going on than what I report here, so I would like to encourage each of you to keep the weekly letter in mind and remember to share your good news. It’s easy – email news@djj.state.fl.us or call (850) 921–5900 by Thursday at noon (submissions after that time will be considered for the next week’s letter).


Wansley Walters

Detention Kudos

I would like to send my heartfelt congratulations to Justice, the dog from the Miami-Dade RJDC, for becoming an official Pet Therapy Dog and Canine Good Citizen. Justice passed his exams last Saturday with flying colors. Not only was he the largest dog taking the exams, but the most well-behaved and well-trained dog of them all. For months I have highlighted the positive and calming influence Justice has had with the youth at Miami-Dade RJDC since his arrival in January. He has provided comfort to the youth who have experienced trauma, loneliness, anger, aggression and sadness and his presence is welcomed by all. My thanks to Miami Dog Whisperer Richard Heinz and personal trainer Oscar Anzueto for preparing Justice for his certification exams.

Prevention Update

I am pleased to announce the following employee additions to the Office of Prevention:

Craig Swain has been hired as the new Statewide Disproportionate Minority Coordinator. Craig started his career here at DJJ in 2007 as a Juvenile Probation Officer in Circuit 17. He left in 2009 to become a Child Protective Investigator for the Department of Children and Families before returning in 2010 to take on the role of JPO for Gadsden and Liberty counties. Craig, a graduate of Florida A&M University, is a member of the Rickards High School football coaching staff.

Christin “Cici” Battle is the new Youth Engagement Coordinator with the Department and will work with the special projects team to enhance our department’s outreach as well as family, community and youth engagement efforts. Cici hails from Miami and worked as a Gubernatorial Fellow at the Department of Education before coming to work here at DJJ. She earned both a Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Florida International University.

Last Saturday, the Palmer Munroe Teen Center in Tallahassee held a “Stop the Violence” rally designed to reinforce messages of crime prevention to local youth. The rally was attended by our own Eugene Morris from the Office of Prevention who spoke to about twenty youth in attendance. Eugene encouraged the youth to listen to the advice from their parents, teachers and other authority figures while concentrating on being good students and choosing their friends wisely. The Palmer Munroe Center is a partnership between the City of Tallahassee, Leon County, Leon County Schools and DJJ. It was recently featured in a brilliant feature article by the Tallahassee Democrat. To read the article, click here.

Staff Development and Training

DJJ Staff Development and Training Director Denny Clark announces the addition of Christina “Christy” Ash to the learning consultant team. Christy holds two bachelor’s degrees from Florida State University, in Criminology and Psychology. She has been with DJJ since 2005, beginning her career as a juvenile probation officer (JPO) in Circuit 3, a position she held for six years. In 2011, Christy became a JPO supervisor. Her background has prepared her well for her role in SD&T, where she is tasked with coordinating the JPO Academy at The Florida Public Safety Institute. Please join me in congratulating Christy on her new duties.

The Office Staff Development and Training (SD&T) held a Performance Management System train-the-trainer workshop on June 27 and 28 to finalize the learning materials to be used for DJJ’s statewide Performance Management training, which is set to launch on July 24. SD&T learning consultants and staff from the Office of Personnel will conduct training with DJJ supervisory and management staff throughout the state between July and September to prepare for statewide implementation of the system among all state agencies in January 2014. Registration is open online at CORE: www.itrainnow.com. For questions, call SD&T at (850) 488-8825 or email CORETeam@djj.state.fl.us.

R-PACT Study

Last week, members of the executive leadership team participated in a presentation of the Residential Positive Achievement Change Tool (R-PACT). This was a study conducted by our Department and the Florida State University College of Criminology and Criminal Justice. The R-PACT is a survey instrument used to identify residential youths’ criminogenic needs and risks, guide the development of intervention strategies and assess youth progress. The study hopes to determine which youth are likely to reoffend and what the scores reveal about the youth’s experiences during their residential stay. This was a truly informative conversation to say the least. I would like to thank Meg Bates from the Office of Residential Services and Michael Baglivio and Kathy Jackowski from the Bureau of Research and Planning for putting this presentation together.

Probation Update

Circuit 16 - On 7/2/2013, SJPO Jay Glover was invited to attend the Marathon Coast Guard Station Changing of Command ceremony.  The event was attended by over 200 local and state officials. The outgoing Commander recognized and thanked SJPO Glover for the work he does for the youth and families in the community. He also praised their positive working relationship. The Marathon Coast Guard Station will be entering into a community service worksite agreement to further help mentor local youth that need positive reinforcement and influences. SJPO Glover expressed to the attendees his excitement for the children to be surrounded by positive instruction and people that will teach them a trade or spark an interest in their future.