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Secretary's Message

January 26, 2015

Secretary Daly’s Weekly Letter

Last week was a full and productive time for our agency and providers as we continued our work in serving Florida’s at risk 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

FJJA Quarterly Board Meeting

Florida Juvenile Justice AssociationOn Wednesday, I was excited to attend the Florida Juvenile Justice Association (FJJA)’s Quarterly Board Meeting in Tallahassee.  I spoke to the board members about the importance of DJJ’s partnership with FJJA and its members as well as my vision for moving forward the reform efforts begun over two years ago. Director of Program Accountability Amy Johnson also addressed the board regarding the shared services model, contracting and training. 

FJJA is a collaborative statewide organization that strongly supports a common sense approach to juvenile justice that treats young people fairly, holds them accountable for their actions, and keeps our neighborhoods, schools and communities safe. I look forward to our continued work together over the next several years.

Youth Crisis Center Annual Board Meeting

On Thursday, I attended the Youth Crisis Center’s (YCC) Annual Board Meeting in Jacksonville as the special guest speaker. In my presentation on the juvenile justice system in Florida, I emphasized the importance of prevention and the role YCC has played and continues to play for the youth we both serve. 

The YCC is a DJJ prevention provider and is currently the largest provider in the state for services for runaway, displaced, and troubled youth in and around the Jacksonville area. The mission of YCC is to provide safe shelter for at-risk children and youth, counseling for families in crisis, links to community resources, and life skills training for at-risk adolescents emerging into adulthood all with the goal of strengthening families and restoring hope.

Duval Regional Juvenile Detention Center Tour

On Friday, I accompanied Jorge Dominicis, President of Correct Care Solutions, on a tour of the Duval Regional Juvenile Detention Center (RJDC).  Correct Care Solutions (CCC) is a progressive and customer-oriented organization within the correctional health care field. CCC has recently contracted with the Department to provide comprehensive medical and mental health services for detention in the North Florida Region. Thank you to Superintendent  Darrell Johnson and the Duval RJDC staff for their hospitality!

Legislative Update

Recently, DJJ welcomed our new Legislative Affairs Director, Meredith Stanfield. Prior to joining DJJ, Meredith served as Legislative and Cabinet Affairs Director for the Florida Office of Financial Regulation and in several positions with the Department of Management Services, most recently as Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs, and at the Florida League of Cities, Inc. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Georgia with a minor in English. We are very excited to have Meredith as a part of the DJJ team!

This past week marked the second Interim Committee Week prior to the 2015 Legislative Session. On Wednesday, Chief of Staff Fred Schuknecht and I addressed the Florida House Justice Appropriations Committee at the Capitol. The purpose of our visit was to present to the committee DJJ’s 2015-16 legislative budget request.  It was also a great opportunity to speak with legislators about our agency before the start of the 2015 Legislative Session, which begins on March 3rd.  

Probation Update

JPOS Jillian Lewandowski and SJPO Sara Driver from Circuit 7 were honored with the Distinguished Service Citation Award by Daytona Beach Police Chief Michael Chitwood on January 9. Jillian was given this award for her assistance as a tutor, mentor, and life skills facilitator with the Central Daytona Beach Police Athletic League and for her efforts in preventing and reducing juvenile delinquency in the local community.  Sara was awarded for her attendance at the bi-weekly crime strategy meetings as well as her collaboration with the police department for curfew checks and participation in juvenile special event operations. On behalf of the entire agency I would like to congratulate both Jillian and Sara on this tremendous honor!

Pictured left to right JPOS Jillian Lewandowski and SJPO Sara Driver

Prevention Update

Delinquency Prevention Specialist Marie Boswell and Reform Specialist Maria Gilhooley from Circuit 11 attended a showing of the featured documentary “Tricked,” at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables. “Tricked” is an eye-opening documentary that weaves together the experiences of those involved in the $3 billion dollar a year industry of human trafficking across the country. Like DJJ, “3 Generations,” a non-profit group based in New York City, is working to eradicate human trafficking in the USA. Miami was selected as the host city for the presentation because of its robust community-based collaborative awareness campaign on the issue of human trafficking in the U.S. Lieutenant Jose Alfonso with the City of Miami Police Department is one of the 2015 Malone Prize Award Honorees along with Wendy Collins, Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation; Derek Stigerts, Detective, Sacramento Police Department; and Simon Haggstrom, Detective Inspector, Stockholm Police Force-Prostitution Unit. The honorees were awarded for their dedication to fighting human trafficking and for their efforts to protect victims and bring offenders to justice.

In the above photo (from left to right): Jane Wells, Executive Director, 3 Generations; Lt Alfonso and his children

Delinquency Prevention Specialist Marie Boswell attended the Martin Luther King Celebration at the Betty Ferguson Recreational Complex in Miami Gardens last Monday. The event was hosted by Rick Party, a popular radio personality of HOT 105. In celebration of the legacy of Dr. King, many community agencies and organizations attended to share resources for children and families with the community members in attendance.  The children and families participated in dance, conscious rap (non-violent, positive thoughts) and more.


Delinquency Prevention Specialist Tina Levene attended the Big Brothers Big Sisters Bridging the Bay event on January 18 in Safety Harbor. The purpose of the event was to celebrate the exciting announcement of emerging Tampa Bay counties: Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando, Sumter, Citrus and Polk. The purpose was to introduce all staff and mentors and mentees to one another.

In the above photo (from left to right): Stephen Koch, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay, Tina Levene and Raymond the Tampa Bay Rays mascot.

On January 21, Cheryl Massaro, a State Advisory Group (SAG) member and a member of the Flagler County Juvenile Justice Council, helped bring awareness to National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. The Flagler County Juvenile Justice Council, stands tall against the trafficking and exploitation of children. Council members held their arms high displaying green bracelets that stated: “Children Are Not for Sale.” The statewide promotion was developed to help raise awareness of this very real social injustice by Florida Devereux. Children are being sold into a $150 billion annual market for trafficking and labor. Florida is ranked third in the nation for the most calls to the national hotline for trafficking cases. Additional information can be obtained by visiting: devereuxFL.org.

Delinquency Prevention Specialist Tina Levene attended an Open House for Chrissy’s Closet on January 20 at the Gary Adult High School in Tampa. Chrissy's Closet was established to provide clothing and hygiene items for students in need. School district personnel and community agencies can refer students to Chrissy's Closet without any referral forms or red tape. It only takes an email or phone call to help remove this barrier that so often keeps kids out of school. Special thanks to: Gary Adult High School, Eckerd Family Foundation, Terrell & Joe Clark, Home Builders Institute and Success 4 Kids & Families.

In the above photo, Chrissy Dorion, founder of Chrissy's Closet as she is interviewed by television station Bay News 9.

Detention Update

As part of Detention’s continuing efforts to make system wide environmental changes to our facilities, a team of detention personnel assisted Hillsborough Detention staff this week and transformed areas of the facility to promote a more trauma-informed atmosphere at the center. Due to the fact that detention centers across the state are at various stages of implementation, this team of trauma champions were specifically called upon to share their expertise and support their colleagues. Sincere appreciation to the following staff for their assistance this week. Pictured from left to right:

Aaron Hall

Maintenance Mechanic

Marion Detention

 Kenny Colema

JJDO Supervisor

Marion Detention

Wardell Burr

Maintenance Mechanic

St. Lucie Detention

Daryl Wolf


Miami-Dade Detention

Joe Graham


Detention Headquarters

Ariel Veguilla

Assistant Superintendent

Alachua Detention

 Cornelia Burden
 Assistant Superintendent
 Palm Beach Detention

The newest batch of puppies made their way to the Brevard RJDC on Tuesday and will enter the Teens Assisting Puppies Program (TAPS). These great dogs come to us from the local Pixel Fund. The dogs are a mixture of Great Pyrenees and others and the kids think they are absolutely adorable. The pups are just five weeks old and will stay at the facility until they are ready for adoption.

Residential Update

Last month just before the holidays, 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, held their quarterly Family Day events together.  More than 30 families attended, where they participated in fun activities with the residents of the programs, enjoyed time together, ate a fantastic meal, and residents who are fathers got to see their children.  The highlights of the day were the smiles on everyone’s faces.

Later that week, the OYA and OIYA residents volunteered with Guardian Care—an assisted living facility for the elderly—to help them with the facility’s Christmas Party. The young men escorted the residents to the Christmas Party, served food, and sang with the residents. This event taught the boys that what each one derives from the past and present shapes his future. They learned to give to others and to give back to those who provide opportunities for each of us to strive for excellence each and every day.

Last month, the young men of Brevard Group Treatment Home (BGTH), a non-secure program for males, ages 12 to 15, which is located in Cocoa and operated by Aspire Health Partners, hosted its monthly Men of Distinction Dinner. BGTH Volunteer and Etiquette Coach Linda Wimberly came up with a wonderful idea to have all nine Men of Distinction selected from the previous two months join the December honorees. The Men of Distinction Program was conceived in 2011 by Program Director Joseph Nixon with the objective of creating future leaders. The program has several components that include: mentoring, experiencing multicultural activities, etiquette training, restorative justice, life skills training, and conflict resolution.

Shown above are Volunteer and Etiquette Coach Linda Wimberly and the 13 young Men of Distinction enjoying a five-course meal.

Five youth are selected by the treatment team on a monthly basis to join the ranks of the Men of Distinction. The criteria includes but is not limited to: maintaining excellent grades, having good conduct in all aspects of the program, exemplary participation in treatment, and exhibiting the traits of a young man with good character. Each youth selected has a professional picture taken and the picture is displayed in the administration building for the month. The picture is then added to the BGTH Hall of Fame binder. Each youth is also afforded the opportunity to participate in at least one community restoration project, four field trips, a life skills training class, and will attend at least one mentoring class that features a prominent member of the community. The selection to the Men of Distinction Program is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a young man of BGTH. Hopefully this honor will be the spring board to future success, leadership, and an appreciation for civic responsibility. Special thanks go to Linda Wimberly—affectionately known at BGTH as Grandma Linda—and Program Specialist Victor Rodriguez for their outstanding work with these young men. Then, on Christmas Eve, the young men of BGTH prepared for Christmas by making gingerbread houses from scratch directed by Grandma Linda. When Grandma Linda and Diana Robinson first approached Program Director Joseph Nixon with the idea, it seemed to be a daunting task but the program staff are not afraid to try anything that would expose the young men to something new. The activity turned out to be special. The young men worked in groups of five and demonstrated their artistic abilities, creating some really unique houses. One of the boys who seemed least likely to enjoy this activity, turned out to be an incredible artist who produced the back drop of the little Christmas town.

Program Director Nixon preserved some of the houses and they are still on display for visitors to BGTH for the month of January but the houses were made of all edible materials.  Let’s just say, all that’s left of this once incredible town are the trees, mountains and snow.  We were told that there may have been an avalanche of some sort that destroyed ALL of the homes.

Health Services Update

The Department’s Office of Health Services  recently partnered with the University of Florida Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry to pilot a statewide toll free telephone consultation help line for prescribing practitioners, nurse, mental health and substance abuse clinicians, and other DJJ staff and providers. The purpose of the help line is to facilitate access to expert consultation on questions concerning the safety and well-being of children and adolescents in DJJ facilities who are receiving psychotropic medications. 
To determine the scope of consultation services, identified staff from all program areas will receive an invitation to complete a survey. The survey will ask for input regarding various subjects, including but not limited to diagnosis, medications, and access to care. 
The survey is anonymous; recipients will receive a link to a survey software called “Qualtrics” that connects them to the questions. 
The Office of Health Services would greatly appreciated those staff identified to respond to the survey.  All responses will significantly aid in formatting and determining how the University of Florida Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Division can best help through the telephone line.  Further updates on when the line will be available for practitioner use will provided at a later date.

PREA Update

Congratulations to the many DJJ residential programs and detention centers that recently passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Audit:

  • Bartow Youth Academy
  • Central Pasco Girls Academy
  • Charles Britt Academy
  • Columbus Juvenile Residential Facility
  • Escambia Regional Juvenile Detention Center
  • Highlands Youth Academy
  • Hillsborough Girls Academy
  • Hillsborough Juvenile Detention Center West
  • Okaloosa Regional Juvenile Detention Center
  • Polk Halfway House
  • Spring Lake Youth Academy
  • Tampa Residential Facility

The audit reports are posted on the PREA Web page by clicking here.

SkillPro Update

SkillProNEW COURSE—Human Trafficking This course introduces the learner to the nature and scope of human trafficking, trains them to recognize the signs of trafficking in victims, and teaches them what to do if they suspect someone is a victim of human traffickers. Annual SkillPro Online Training Some users may have not completed their required training for 2014. Training coordinators are responsible for making sure that each of their users has completed all courses on his/her My Learning path. You can access your users’ information from your My Learning page using the drop-down search boxes shown below.

For clarification on training requirements, please review staff training policy FDJJ – 1520 or check with your training coordinator. If you have any questions, you may submit them using the Get Help! button in SkillPro. Be sure to include your name, email address and telephone number with your question. 

PROFESSIONAL ELECTIVES/IN-SERVICE COURSES: If you need in-service training hours to fulfill your annual training requirements, you can use the Search key in the Learning Library to browse courses by a topic of interest. A sample is shown below.

COURSE TEST REMINDER: When taking a course posttest, select the “Record Score and Exit Course” button must be selected for the score to be recorded and the course to be reported as “complete.” SkillPro will not record the test score if the user does not click "Record Score and Exit Course” button at the bottom of the test results screen. If the user exits by clicking on one of the browser buttons (“X” button at top right of screen or back arrow at the top left), there will not be a record of the score. If no is scored recorded, the user must re-take the posttest.