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Secretary's Message

January 20, 2015

Secretary Daly’s Weekly Letter 

Now that the holiday season is over, I hope you all are settling into the New Year and with it, the new opportunities that 2015 has in store.  Our agency has hit the ground running and we are continuing to work hard for Florida’s youth and families. I hope you will take a moment to read the stories about the accomplishments of our agency staff, our colleagues, and the youth in our care.

As always, 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.


Christina K. Daly

 The Governor’s Corner by Governor Rick Scott

As we begin the New Year, I would like to thank all of Florida’s dedicated public servants who have made it their mission to serve our great state. Thanks to your hard work, we are on the way to making Florida the worldwide location for individuals to get a job, provide for their families, and live a great life. With 715,700 private-sector jobs created since December 2010, it is clear Florida is thriving. A job is the number one way to change a life and give families hope for the future, and that is why we will continue to make jobs our mission for the next four years.

Our new goal is to unseat Texas and become the global leader for job creation by the year 2020. With the continued support of our public employees, we can meet this goal, and provide more opportunities for every single person in Florida. We’re committed to cutting taxes, investing in K-12 education, keeping higher education affordable, and investing in our growing infrastructure. Thank you again for all you do for Florida. Let’s Keep Florida Working!

Florida Police Chief’s Association Conference

On Sunday, I was honored to address the Florida Police Chiefs Association’s (FPCA) Board of Directors at their Mid-Winter Conference in Tampa.  The following day, I spoke at the FPCA’s full conference where I discussed the importance of DJJ’s partnership with law enforcement, both at the local and state level. I also spoke about our shared successes and continuing the vision of improving public safety and outcomes for Florida’s youth.

The Florida Police Chiefs Association (FPCA) is the fourth largest state police chiefs association in the United States. It is composed of more than 750 of the state's top law enforcement executives. FPCA serves municipal police departments, airport police, college and university police, private business and security firms, as well as federal, state and county law enforcement agencies. 

Families and Children in the Court Steering Committee

On Monday afternoon in Tampa, I  attended the School Justice Partnership Committee of the Florida Steering Committee on Families and Children in the Court, and then the following day, attended the Steering Committee’s full member meeting.  I am honored to serve as a member of this important committee, which works  to establish a fully integrated, comprehensive approach to handling all cases involving children and families. The Steering Committee has worked diligently to encourage and facilitate family court efforts. With the guidance and support of the Steering Committee, courts around the state have implemented numerous improvements as they endeavor to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of family court operations.

DJJ Employee Wins Champion of Service Award

DJJ Employee Alice Sims from the Office of Health Services was presented with the Champion of Service Award by Governor Rick Scott during a cabinet meeting last week. This award is presented by Volunteer Florida and honors individuals and groups for their outstanding volunteer efforts. Alice, her husband Ernie Sims, Jr. and her son Ernie Sims III were honored for their work with Capital City Christian Crusaders (CCCC), a community based youth organization dedicated to meeting the spiritual, social and physical needs of young people and their families. The CCCC is a component of The WAY (Winning America’s Youth) Ministries of Tallahassee, and has served over 1600 athletes since its founding in 1994. On behalf of the entire agency, I would like to congratulate Alice on this remarkable achievement. 

Human Trafficking Awareness Month

As a part of Human Trafficking Awareness Month, several DJJ staff have represented the agency at various trainings and events across the state so far this month.

Prevention Specialist Tina Levene attended the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners meeting as the commissioners voted on a proclamation recognizing January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month.  Pictured right in the (from left to right) are two members of Human Trafficking Community Collaborative, Renee Mulder, Joanna Winters, Edie Rhea, Dotti Groover-Skipper, Connie Rose, Beth Potter and Tina Levene.

Human Trafficking Director Bethany Brimer and Deputy Director Tyson Elliott represented DJJ at a training luncheon in Jacksonville last week. The training, entitled “Justice for the Victims of Human Trafficking,” was sponsored by the Jacksonville Bar Association. Around 200 people attended the luncheon including 35 for the training. In attendance were staff members from Senator Rubio and Senator Nelson’s offices respectively as well as members from the Jacksonville Mayor’s office and the Duval County judiciary.

Thank you to Circuit 4 Chief Probation Officer Gwen Steverson for attending the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office’s press conference recognizing Human Trafficking Awareness Month, which was held in conjunction with the North East Florida Human Trafficking Coalition.

Tyson Elliott also spoke at the Human Trafficking Symposium in Ft. Myers sponsored by the Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida. The event, attended by 200 people, was held at Florida Gulf Coast University. Tyson spoke about changing people’s perspective in his presentation titled,  “From Prostitute to Sex Trafficking Victim.” 

Probation Update

Circuit 16 CPO Karen Knight attended the “Be a Smile Maker” event on January 9 at the Hard Rock Café in Key West. The event, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Key West, raised money for the Rotary Club dental fund which provides dental services to less fortunate children in the local community who cannot afford dental care. Karen is pictured here with Key West Mayor Craig Cates.


Reform Specialist Lut Clarcq and JPOSs Tracie Foss and Caren Langevin from Circuit 20 made a presentation to Guardian Ad Litem volunteers in Collier County on January 13. More than twenty attendees listened to our probation staff discuss an overview of the Department including the Roadmap to System Excellence and the continued efforts of reducing juvenile delinquency through reform efforts which include prevention, intervention, and transitional services.  The presentation also allowed the volunteers to ask questions pertaining to youth who are also involved with Guardian Ad Litem.

JPO Byron Brown and Reform Specialist Lut Clarcq from Circuit 20 attended an open house at Coronado High School in Fort Myers on January 14. Coronado’s Principal Trent Eckhardt and Assistant Principal Dan Addair provided a tour of the school which was started eight years ago to help at-risk students earn a standard high school diploma and prepare for post-secondary success. Coronado offers our youth a diverse array of learning styles and three different sessions during the day and at night. The students at the school had the opportunity to share their current and future plans with Lut and Bryon.

Sydney, a youth from Project Connect in Circuit 8, was recently named “Student of the Month” for her exceptional performance at the Levy Learning Academy in Gainesville.  Sydney is currently working on her high school diploma, driver’s license, and employment at Levy. Sydney’s probation officer, JPO Charles James is very pleased with her progress and was thankful that Project Connect offered to help with her success. 

SJPO Derrick Henderson and JPO Clint Schweers from Circuit 14 collaborated with Chaplain Sigrid Reed from Dove Academy Residential Program to collect and provide baby items for a less fortunate family in Jackson County. Chaplain Reed delivered the items to the family on December 18 in the hopes that they would have a Merry Christmas.

Photo:  JPO Schweers, Chaplain Reed, Sr. JPO Henderson at the Jackson County Juvenile Probation Office

A probationary youth who was in the supervision of Circuit 11 JPO Pam Peters received twotickets to the Orange Bowl on December 31 between Georgia Tech and Mississippi State at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens. The 17-year-old was given these tickets from the local Boys and Girls Club for completing his sanctions in a timely manner as well as making tremendous academic improvement as he prepares for graduation this spring. The youth has turned his life around and is now very motivated in preparing for college. On behalf of the agency, I would like to thank the Boys and Girls Club for providing this motivated young man with a once in a lifetime experience. 

Director of Policy and Programming Jeannie Becker-Powell, Statewide Reform Specialist Kara Ahearn, Reform Specialists Liz Phillips and Melanie Kretzman from Circuits 2 and 8, respectively, and Laura Varela from the Institute for Child and Family Health conducted Stop Now and Plan (SNAP) training sessions in Orlando this week. Desiree Phillips from the Child Development Institute (CDI) in Toronto, Canada (the creator of the SNAP program) was coaching and observing the trainers, as part of the first “train the trainer” program CDI has allowed. 

Detention Update

JDO Academy Training Coordinator Corporal Caitlinmae Jed provided care packages for four new employees from the Bay RJDC as they begin their training at the JDO Academy in Tallahassee this week. The care packages contained pens, highlighters, notebooks, and snacks to help keep them energized during their stay. Caitlinmae made sure that each new employee was familiar with the expectations during the final phase of their training.

From Left to right.....Training Coordinator JJDO II Caitlinmae Jed, Trainees Lori Clark, Phillip Robinson, Kenston Robinson-Smith, Brian Mourton

The youth from the Okaloosa RJDC received a special gift this week from the Iron Order Motorcycle Club. The Club graciously donated two brand new 46” basketball goals to be used at the facility. Iron Order donates their time and efforts to assist youth who have been through traumatic events, and we are very thankful for their generosity. The youth at the facility have already begun making thank you cards to send to the members of the club. 

Last Wednesday, Detention Headquarters staff traveled to the Central Region for site visits as well as training. Assistant Secretary Julia Strange visited the Pasco RJDC where she met with Superintendent Ida Burns, which was followed by a visit to the Marion RJDC with Superintendent Irma Terry. GOC II Joe Graham also provided administrative training for the Assistant Superintendents of Detention Centers in the Central Region.

Marion Detention: GOC II Detention HQ Staff Joe Graham Assistant Secretary Julia Strange, Assistant Superintendent, Jason Pimentel, and Superintendent Irma Terry


Pasco Detention Pictured left to right  Assistant Superintendent Diana Perreault, Assistant Secretary Strange, Superintendent Ida Burns, and GOC II Detention HQ Staff Joe Graham

From Left to Right:  Front Row: Margie McKinney, ADCS II, Brevard RJDC; April Walker, ADCS II, Hillsborough RJDC; Eris Womack, ADCS II, Pinellas RJDC; Katanga Perkins, ADCS II, Manatee RJDC; Diana Perreault, ADCS II, Pasco RJDC /Back Row: Roosevelt Butler, ADCS II, Orange RJDC; Charles Pitts, ADCS II, Pinellas RJDC; Larry Eason, ADCS II, Orange RJDC; Trainer: Joe Graham; Cordell Nelson, ADCS II, Hillsborough RJDC

Prevention Update

Assistant Secretary for Prevention and Victim Services Wanda Finnie served as a panel member during the “Rally to Tally” event at Florida State University on January 13. Wanda was joined on the panel with agency representatives from the Department of Children and Families, Department of Economic Opportunity, Department of Environmental Protection, and the Department of Health.

Rally to Tally was sponsored by the Close Up Foundation which conducted a local program featuring more than 300 high school students from the Miami-Dade school district. All of the international students were new residents of Florida having lived in the U.S. for less than three years.

As part of the program, students learned about the bill to law process in the Florida legislature and examined public issues and community concerns and created recommendations on policies to address these issues. As part of the students’ research, they posed questions to leaders in Florida who have expertise in issues and policies the students will be examining.

Since 1971, Close Up has provided the premier civic education experience to nearly 800,000 participants. Close Up programs seek to educate, inspire, and empower students by providing them with the skills and experience they need to become active citizens in our democracy.

Youth Correctional Alternatives, a program in conjunction with the Duval County Teen Court in Circuit 4, meets twice a month to provide meaningful community service and career exploration for our at-risk youth throughout the school year. The YCA accepts referrals for those youth who have committed a minor criminal offense for admission. The focus of the YCA is on citizenship and career exploration and youth are provided a wide sampling of career exposure in the fields of healthcare, trades, government, communication and aviation to name a few. The picture to the right shows YCA youth organizing items for distribution through the Second Harvest Food Bank of Jacksonville. 

Residential Update

At the Broward Youth Treatment Center (BYTC), a non-secure program for males, ages 13 to 18, which is operated by Youth Services International, LLC, the young men are encouraged to learn yoga—a physical and mental practice that aims to transform one’s body and mind.  The program offers the residents a weekly class taught by a certified instructor.  Shown below are photos of the boys in a yoga class

The BYTC boys also earned VIP passes to a Friday evening concert performed by Lecrae, a Christian rapper, songwriter, record producer and actor.  Many thanks go to Pastor Gary for donating the tickets for the boys in the program.  Shown below are the young men and staff members who enjoyed the outing and the boys had a photo taken with the entertainer in front of a backdrop that promoted his seventh album, Anomaly, which was released on September 9, 2014.  It debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and was the first album to top both the Billboard 200 and the Gospel chart simultaneously.

Last month, 14 students from the Melbourne Center for Personal Growth—a non-secure program for males, ages 13 to 18, which is operated by AMIKids, Inc.—participated in an annual holiday celebration that is sponsored by the AMIkids Space Coast Board of Trustees and the Melbourne Center for Personal Growth staff members.  The students enjoyed a special buffet dinner along with a visit from Santa. 

Each student also received early Christmas gifts from Santa Claus, which put a smile on each boy’s face.  All of the students were given a gift bag that included a pair of tennis shoes, a fleece jacket, a hat with their favorite team sport’s logo on it, and several other items that they did not open until Christmas morning. 

All of the young men expressed such gratitude and appreciation to the board and thanked Santa for making Christmas brighter.

The first week in December, the students of the Orange Youth Academy (OYA) and the Orlando Intensive Youth Academy (OIYA), which are both programs for males that are operated by G4S Youth Services, LLC, joined in partnership with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and Orange County Fire Rescue to conduct a “Community Clean Up” in the Pine Hills subdivision of Orlando.  Students and staff members of both OYA and OIYA assisted residents who are not able to maintain their lawns or clean up the neighborhood.  It was a great learning experience for the students to assist others in need.

The students of the RAM-C (Residential Alternative for the Mentally Challenged) Program, a non-secure program in Greenville that is for males, ages 9 to 18, which is operated by Twin Oaks Juvenile Development, Inc., assisted their community by washing and cleaning the fire trucks for Sirman’s Volunteer Fire Department during an outreach project. 

Also at the RAM-C Program, some of the students enjoyed a tour of the North Florida Community College (NFCC). Personal Fitness instructor Tyler Coody, coordinator of Fitness and Wellness for NFCC, spoke to the RAM-C students and took them on a tour.  The students concluded their visit with a little free shooting in the NFCC gym. 

During the holidays, the RAM-C boys undertook a project dubbed “Warm Bodies and Soles” that helped those in need in Tallahassee.  With the assistance of the RAM-C culinary instructor and teachers, some of the students cooked and distributed homemade vegetable soup, a new pair of socks, and books to the needy at Lake Ella and at a convenience store in Historic Frenchtown.  They provided hot soup and new socks and books to approximately 40 community members.

The students then helped out at The Shelter in Tallahassee, serving more than 175 lunches to the homeless while gaining valuable experience in the kitchen. 

Staff Development and Training Update

The DJJ Office of Staff Development and Training (SD&T) has taken a strategic look at how we do business in serving the needs of juvenile justice professionals. Building on the trusted tools and services we are noted for delivering, we are focused on collaborating with our stakeholders to boost learning engagement even higher

On January 13, 2015, Director Denny Clark and Deputy Director Cina Wilson Johnson presented SD&T’s strategic initiatives, projects, 2015 training schedule, and a brief reminder about SkillPro’ s Custom Content feature to the DJJ Executive Leadership Team.

 Highlights from initiatives:

  • Emphasis on micro-learning
  • Phased enhancements to SkillPro
  • Creation of a SD&T advisory council
  • Introduction of an individual development plan tool  

For more details, please click here. 

To view the presentation slides, click the links below.

SD&T Cultivating Continuous Learning

SD&T Strategic Initiatives

SD&T 2015 Training Schedule, SkillPro Custom Content and e-Courses