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Secretary's Message

July 18, 2014

Secretary Daly’s Weekly Letter

As I shared with staff last week, I am sincerely grateful for the hard work and steadfast dedication to this agency from those who work in juvenile justice across the state. As Secretary Walters did, I want to continue to share every week the great work occurring here at the Department of Juvenile Justice and that of our partners. 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 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).


Christy Daly

The Governor’s Corner by Governor Rick Scott

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. This award serves as a testament of our gratitude on behalf of every Floridian.

With more than 1.5 million veterans living in Florida, many of us have friends and family members who have selflessly served our country and many of our public servants are veterans themselves. These heroes have made countless sacrifices for Florida families. Their service has protected our freedoms and allowed us the opportunities to achieve the American Dream. Let’s keep working to support our veteran men and women, and make Florida the most military-friendly state in the nation.

Quarterly State Advisory Group Meeting

On Tuesday, I was pleased to give the opening remarks to the State Advisory Group (SAG) Quarterly Meeting at the Hyatt Riverfront Hotel in Jacksonville. SAG members play a vital role in shaping our state’s juvenile justice system and I cannot thank them enough for their outstanding work. My remarks were followed by remarks from Assistant Secretary for Prevention Wanda Finnie. The day was spent giving SAG members an update and overview on the work the Department has done in the recent months. Our employees gave SAG members an update on the Florida Youth Commission, JDAI, JABG and Federal Grants and the Chapter 985 revisions. Later in the day, Prevention employees made several site visits to provider locations. Those visits will be featured prominently in today’s Prevention Update.

Pew Charitable Trust Conference

This week I was honored to lead the Florida Delegation on a trip to Burlington, Vermont for the Pew Charitable Trusts conference entitled Getting Results in Juvenile Justice: Improving Outcomes and Containing Costs.  Aside from Florida, the conference included a delegation from nine other states as well as representatives from Pew and other stakeholders.  During this three day event, we discussed the key challenges as well as opportunities facing our juvenile justice system.  I would like to thank the following members of our Florida Delegation who accompanied me during this trip: Hon. Kathleen Kroll, Circuit Judge, 15th Judicial Circuit Court; Mark Greenwald, Director of Research, Florida Department of Juvenile Justice; Rep. Ray Pilon, Florida House of Representatives; Sen. Rob Bradley, Florida State Senate; Rose Patterson, Chief of Court Improvement, Office of the State Courts Administrator, Florida Supreme Court ; Thomas Griffin, Chief of Staff, Office of Florida State Senator Rob Bradley. 

Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative Steering Committee

On Tuesday, I met with members of the Duval Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) Steering Committee to discuss strategies for alternatives to secure detention.  Action items included establishing an Evening Reporting Center for a targeted population and location, and the development of a mental health protocol for detained youth with complex mental health issues.  Earlier in the day I met with Dr. Lawanda Ravoira, the JDAI Alternatives Subcommittee Chair and President/CEO Delores Barr Policy Center to discuss interventions currently being provided to girls in secure detention and the status of the Girls Evening Reporting Center. I also met with Julie Taylor, Director of Circuit 4 County and Juvenile Court, and the Juvenile Division Chief, Assistant State Attorney Brooke Brady to offer agency support for Duval youth being served by the court and DJJ. A special JDAI Steering Committee Meeting was held to meet with committee members, and those able to attend included:

Chief of Juvenile Division,  Circuit Court Judge Henry Davis; Juvenile Division Circuit Court Judge David Gooding; C-4 Juvenile Justice Advisory Chair and President/CEO Daniels Kids, Jim Clark; Director of the Juvenile Division Office of the Public Defender, Rob Mason; Assistant Public Defender Rachel Heidenberg; President/CEO, Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center, Dr. Lawanda Ravoira; Director Jacksonville System of Care Initiative Vicki Waytowich; NE Regional Criminal Justice Coordinator/DCF Todd Raleigh; Chief Duval County Public Schools David Coffman; C-4 Chief Probation Officer Gwen Steverson; C-4 Assistant CPO Karen McNeal; JDAI Statewide Coordinator, Colleene Scott; and JDAI Duval Coordinator Vicki Burke.

DJJ Employee Wins Statewide Award

The calendar will soon turn to August and many of Florida’s youth will strap on their helmets and return to the gridiron to play football.  Football breeds confidence in our youth and gives them a sense of being a part of a team and a family. These qualities are what builds character and molds our children into becoming successful and productive adults with the hope that in doing so they steer clear of the juvenile justice system. 

I would like to highlight Circuit 12 JPOS Bill Siedlecki who was named the 2014 Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) official of the year during the FHSAA Leadership Conference on June 20. Bill has served as an official for 26 years and has been ranked as part of the number one crew in the state, also working three state championship games. In addition he serves as an official for youth leagues, flag football and 7v7.

During the offseason, Bill spearheads a fundraiser through the Salvation Army Angel Tree during the holiday season to purchase gifts for kids. Bill’s story was highlighted in the Sarasota Herald Tribune on Monday, and you can read it by clicking here

Probation Update

The Circuit 16 Probation Office in Monroe County began a back to school supply drive this week. To support this effort, DJJ enlisted the help of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, DCF, GAL and Wesley House Family Services. These organizations have strategically placed boxes throughout the Keys to collect school supplies for our youth. These supplies will be distributed during the Family Fun Day at the Monroe RJDC on August 10.

Circuit 16 JPO Nancy Masry accompanied one of the youth in her care from Guardian Ad Litem for a visit with Juvenile Court Dependency Judge Tegan Slaton. This child was very happy about his visit as he wanted to speak to the Judge alone in chambers. Thank you to Nancy for ensuring that this youth’s voice was heard!

The Florida Guardian Ad Litem program is a partnership of community advocates and professional staff providing a voice on behalf of Florida’s abused and neglected children.  To learn more about the program or to become a Guardian Ad Litem volunteer, click here.

The Success through Empowerment Program (STEP) held a workshop for youth and their families in Circuit 11 on Human Trafficking. The guest speaker was Assistant States’ Attorney Jane Anderson who works in the Human Trafficking Unit in Miami-Dade County. Jane explained what human trafficking is, how it can be prevented, and how it is affecting juveniles across the country. The youths and parents were very engaged in the discussion, asked many questions and found it to be an interesting and informative meeting overall.


Circuit 18 SJPO Debbie Pruitt volunteered to help with the Independence Day Celebration in Alachua on July 4. Debbie collaborated with over 40 law enforcement agencies from both local and surrounding counties as well as members from DJJ and DOC. This event was well attended with over 11,000 people on hand, including more than 300 youth that came to celebrate America.

JPO Ardena Bosley from Circuit 13 spearheaded the Kids in Support of Soldiers (KISS) Project for the Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency (FCCD). The local FCCD chapter donated nearly $1100 worth of items that will be donated to the KISS Project. With DJJ’s collection of donated items, FCCD won two registration scholarships to the 2014 Training Institute, which will be held in Naples next month. Ardena has been awarded one of the scholarships for all of her efforts in coordinating the collection of donations.

During the recent Statewide DRAI Team Training & Workshop selected DRAI trainer candidates completed the first phase of training for certification as master level regional DRAI trainers.  Pictured:  (back row) C-14 Fred Womack, C-9 Omar Bohler, C-4/JAC Tim Denton, C-13 James Garner, C-19 George Connelly, C-11/JAC Latawun Bess, C-15 Tahirah Jones, C-7/JAC Joshua Bess (front row)  JPO Academy Instructor Christie Ash, C-13/JAC Jennifer Cristiano-Czaja, CPO 2/State DRAI Master Trainer/Instructor Minnie Bishop, C-15/ACPO Geeta Loach-Jacobson 

Circuit 12 Reform Specialist Buddy Hall was the featured speaker at the South Florida State College (SFSC), Desoto Campus to the SFSC Panther Youth Partners on July 16. The Panther Youth Partners provides youth with services that will develop and strengthen employability skills, talents and interest and is available to youth ages 16-21 living in Desoto, Hardee or Highlands County. The youth gain valuable information for use when seeking employment or deciding on a career change. During his presentation, Buddy discussed juvenile court hearings, the Department’s Roadmap initiatives, and Civil Citations. 

Recently, Probation staff from Circuit 6 held a retirement luncheon for JPOS Jim Lane who plans to retire at the end of the month. Director Tim Niermann and CPO Adrienne Conwell presented him with a letter from Secretary Daly that states, “It is with great pleasure and admiration that I take this opportunity to recognize you on your retirement with over 54 years of service to the families of the State of Florida, particularly Pinellas County. This is indeed a truly rare achievement and deserves the highest degree of recognition.” We would like to thank Jim and wish him the best in his retirement. 

JPOs from Circuit 6 in Pasco County enlisted youth in a career readiness certification program in partnership with the local workforce agency. These youth on probation along with girls from the local PACE Center attended a three-day vocational career readiness learning workshop to obtain a certificate in administrative professionalism. The youth who attended learned skills in the areas of time management, goal setting, critical thinking, conflict resolution, work etiquette, problem solving, and strategic planning when considering career options.

DJJ’s Human Trafficking Coordinator Tyson Elliot hosted a county-wide meeting on human trafficking for Probation staff in Circuit 9 on June 27. Tyson gave an informative presentation on human trafficking which was followed up by a second presentation from Orange County Sheriff’s Department Master Deputy Marri Underwood related to Personal Safety. Many staff remarked that it was very good to hear from an expert on this subject matter.  All of the presenters did a great job and Circuit 9 is appreciative of all of our presenters taking the time from their busy schedules to provide training. 

Residential Update

Personal Tours Help Stakeholders and Staff Strengthen Partnerships 

Last month, South Regional Residential Operations SMA II Johnny Richardson had the opportunity to join the Broward Girls Academy and Broward Youth Treatment Center (both operated by Youth Services International, Inc.) in welcoming Captain J. Sanchez; Detective R. Washington, Crime Analysts T. Whatley, S. Pierre, and M. Lewis of the Miramar Police Department P.R.I.M.E. Unit (Preventing Repeat Incarceration through Monitoring and Enforcement).  The City of Miramar is served by the Probation South Service Center and has a partnership with and coordinates with DJJ Circuit Juvenile Probation Officers to provide courtesy checks for curfew, and other general observations, of youth under supervision.  However, the youth must be under community supervision and reside in the City of Miramar.

The P.R.I.M.E. Unit monitors juveniles (in partnership with Circuit 17 and the Department of Corrections) and adults who are on probation, parole, community control, conditional release, or who have other sanctions imposed by the court (e.g., home detention, curfew, electronic monitoring, etc.).  To quote the P.R.I.M.E. Unit Leader, “We check on these individuals every day, and once our checks are completed, we report back to the probation officers and the courts with our findings.” 

The purpose of the Unit is to encourage everyone to comply with whatever terms the court has established for them.  The purpose of the tour was to give the P.R.I.M.E Unit members a better understanding of the residential program setting and structure so that they make more informed recommendations to the Juvenile Court Judges.

Special thanks to go the management of both programs:  Program Director of Broward Girls Academy Pamela Rollins and Program Director of Broward Youth Treatment Center Latoya Jackson-Singletary.

Recently, members of DJJ’s regional offices of Residential Services and Probation & Community Intervention from Circuit 15 (Palm Beach County) and Circuit 19 (Martin and Okeechobee counties) hosted a tour of residential programs in Circuit 15 for members of the judiciary and officers of the court.

Residential South Regional Director Lois Salton along with regional staff members Commitment Chief Erna Foushee, Operations SMA-II Johnny Richardson and Operations Specialist Sophia Ifill joined Circuit 15 Probation & Community Intervention staff members  Chief Probation Officer (CPO) Gregory Starling, Assistant CPO Geeta Jacobs, Reform Specialist Shirlon McCarty, Juvenile Probation Officer (JPO) Supervisor Stephanie Riley, and JPO Monitor Brandon Hurbs in facilitating and conducting a tour of four locations in Circuit 19.  The tour included the residential commitment programs Martin Girls Academy, Okeechobee Juvenile Offender Corrections Center, Okeechobee Youth Development Center, and Okeechobee Girls Academy.  

The members of the 15th Judicial Circuit who participated in the tour included The Hon. Kathleen Kroll, Chief Judge Jeffery Colbath, The Hon. James Martz, The Hon. Rosemarie Scher, Magistrate Sara Alijewicz, Juvenile Division Operations Manager Cristy Altaro, Trial Court Administrator Barbara Dawicke, and Drew Hanley.  Attorneys from the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, the 15th Circuit Office of the State Attorney, and the 15th Circuit Public Defenders Office also participated in the tour:  Shahar Pasch, Alexandra St. Pierre, Jason Siegel, Lawrence Buck, Lynn Mindlin, Laura Kenney, Lorene Taylor, Candice Goldbaum, Talia Gooding-Williams, Christopher Fox-Lent, and Joseph Maryuma.  The Department is grateful to have the participation of so many partners from the judiciary and officers of the court.  Learning first-hand what residential commitment programs look like and the services that are provided to the youth who go through the juvenile justice system is invaluable.


The Department continues its effort to comply with the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA).  This week, the PREA website was redesigned to include training materials, assessment information, auditing tools and data collection.  Please visit the new pages found online at http://www.djj.state.fl.us/partners/prison-rape-elimination-act-(prea).

Audits for residential and detention facilities in the Central Region are in full swing. 

Kudos to the Les Peters Academy, operated by G4S Youth Services, LLC!  This is the first program in Florida to pass the PREA audit.  The facility currently is certified as being in compliance with all of the PREA Standards, which also may be found on the redesigned web pages. 

Prevention Update

On Tuesday, Prevention staff and members from the State Advisory Group met with the PACE Center for Girls in Jacksonville. This visit was in concert with the quarterly SAG meeting that just concluded. The facility made a presentation to the prevention and SAG guests and followed that up with a tour of the facility. Among the DJJ staff on hand were Verla Lawson-Grady, Community Engagement Coordinator, Onazina Washington III, Delinquency Prevention Specialist, Yvonne Woodard , Federal Programs Manager, Lucas Boyce, SAG Chairperson, Josh Kuch, DMC Coordinator, Brittany Claybrooks, Assistant Community Outreach Coordinator, Juliette Westmoreland, Federal Assistant, Yvonne Maffia, Circuit Advisory Board Liaison, Cheryl Howard, Financial Coordinator , Craig Swain, Faith Network Coordinator.

The same day, Yvonne Woodard, SAG Chairperson Lucas Boyce, Josh Kuch, Brittany Claybrooks, Juliette Westmoreland, Yvonne Maffia, Cheryl Howard, Craig Swain, and  state advisory group members, broke away from their quarterly meeting to visit Empowered Parents/Camp Consequence, in Jacksonville. Empowered Parents/Camp Consequence serves as a Parent Help and Family Crisis Center which gives families the space needed to cool down after an argument and develop a parenting plan before returning home.  The Center’s mission is that a changed parent will result in a changed kid with love and affection being the foundation for changing negative behavior.

Detention Update

The girls from the Duval RJDC received a special treat this week as they were visited by Miss California. Miss California shared her life experiences with the girls and encouraged them never to give up in life and to always have faith. She took the time out of her busy schedule to sign each girl’s journal and promised she would visit again when she is in the area. 

St. Lucie County Commissioner Kim Johnson made a visit to the St. Lucie RJDC in Ft. Pierce on Wednesday. Commissioner Johnson gave an inspirational speech reflecting his personal life experiences while giving valuable lessons on life and steps to achieve their goals. The students and staff were very appreciative of his visit and demonstrated their gratitude following his speech. The visit was arranged by a teacher on site as a part of the continued partnership between DJJ and the St. Lucie School District.

The Marion Regional Juvenile Detention Center recently added a cool new set of chairs to its library. The chairs were purchased with funds earmarked for Trauma Informed Care practices. The library at Marion was established in 2003 with donations from community stakeholders, and has been maintained for the last ten years by media specialist Debbie Koch. The education department at Marion has incorporated use of our library into our weekly school schedule. Each Friday, all youth visit the library to check out books as well as learn about current events. We are so happy to have this new set of chairs to improve our library.  

Shared Services Update

The Technical Assistance Unit is working collaboratively with the Shared Services Leadership Team to identify new ways to provide support for the Program and Monitoring Unit as well as the Department’s four program areas (Detention, Prevention, Probation and Residential). Over the next several weeks we will be contacting representatives across the state to find out more about how the team can support the needs of the program areas.

The Technical Assistance Unit is comprised of seven full-time employees located throughout the State.  The team members and locations are: 

  • Nicos Antonakos- Fort Pierce
  • Myhosi Ashton- Fort Lauderdale
  • Crystal Johnson- Tampa
  • Sandra Johnson- Daytona Beach
  • Jeffrey Powell- Tallahassee
  • Jacqueline Young- Tallahassee
  • Vacant position- new location of Panama City

The primary focus of the Technical Assistance Unit is the implementation and fidelity monitoring of evidence-based practices and effective behavior management strategies.  These practices and strategies have been proven to reduce recidivism, decrease risk factors, increase protective factors/strengths, decrease staff turnover, and decrease the number of incidents with youth served by all four program areas of the Department.  The Technical Assistance Unit is responsible for coordinating and providing evidenced-based training, fidelity monitoring for the delivery of interventions, and providing technical assistance for referred programs.  If you are interested in learning more about the Technical Assistance Unit, please contact Jacqueline Young at (850) 717-2554 or Jackie.young@djj.state.fl.us.

Staff Development and Training Update

Collaborating on Training and Development Best Practices

Members of the office of Staff Development and Training participated in the kick start of the quarterly state agency managers’ meeting and the Association for Talent Development’s (ATD) bimonthly meeting in Tallahassee. These organizations focus on promoting best practices in staff training and development.  Dr. Glenn Hallam, Ph.D. presented “An Exploration of Deep Competence) before the ATD Tallahassee Chapter. The presentation was geared toward promoting inspiration, mentoring and coaching.

Free Financial Planning Workshops

The Florida Retirement System is offering free financial planning workshops for FRS-covered employees via webcast.  The workshops will be held on Tuesday, July 22, and Wednesday, July 23, and will cover the following topics: 


10:00 a.m. to Noon ET

1:00 to 3:00 p.m. ET

July 22

Using the FRS to Plan for Retirement

Cash and Debt Management: Smart Spending & Saving for Retirement

July 23

Nearing Retirement in the FRS

Estate Planning: Protecting Your Family


Employees wishing to register for these workshops should call 1-866-446-9377, Option 2. Employees who sign up to attend an online workshop will receive details for logging in and participating a few days prior to the workshop.

 Employees in the Tallahassee area can attend the workshops in person at the State Board of Administration, 1801 Hermitage Boulevard, Tallahassee, FL 32308. For additional information or questions, please contact Lorna Jackson, Bureau of Personnel (850) 717-2656