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Secretary's Message

March 2, 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



Florida Children’s Cabinet Meeting

On Tuesday, I attended the Florida Children’s Cabinet Quarterly Meeting at the Capitol.  During the meeting we heard from Zackary Gibson Director of the Governor’s Office of Adoption and Child Protection who gave a presentation on their new initiatives. We also took time to review the 2014 Cabinet’s Annual Report. In addition, Chairman Blake Meier from the Florida Youth Commission took time to give us an update on the Commission as well as the application process for new commissioners. The Florida Children’s Cabinet’s vision is for all children in Florida to grow up safe, healthy, educated and prepared to meet their full potential.


Florida Youth Commission

Florida Youth Commission applications for the 2015 – 2016 school year are now open! There are two application forms, a Nominator and Student form – only one needs to be submitted. Both application forms can be found here, where they must also be submitted electronically when complete. The application deadline is Friday, May 1, 2015, and the selection notification will be no later than Friday, June 19, 2015.



The Florida Youth Commission is comprised of youth across the state and serves as an advisory group to the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet. The objective of the Florida Youth Commission is to unite youth across the state in order to identify key issues facing Florida’s next generation. The Florida Youth Commission aspires to not only connect Florida’s youth, but also to guide and cultivate our future leaders.



If you have any questions about the Florida Youth Commission, or the application process, please contact Caitlin Camechis, Florida Youth Commission Manager, (850) 717-2700, FloridaYouthCommission@djj.state.fl.us.


Broward County Visit with Judge Stacy Ross


On Thursday, I traveled to Broward County to meeting with members of the judiciary, stakeholders and DJJ Staff. Thursday afternoon I accompanied Judge Stacy Ross to a session of the Broward County Girls Court. The Girls Court is a diversion program designed to offer an alternative to formal juvenile court proceedings. At Girls Court trials’ sentencing phase, trained high school student volunteers using a Peer Jury format, roughly modeled after the process used by a grand jury, perform the courtroom roles of clerk, bailiff, juror and advocate. Girls Court defendants are misdemeanor offenders generally aged 11-17, who voluntarily agree to participate. These cases are referred by the State Attorney’s Office and law enforcement agencies.



Broward County JJSIP Meeting

On Friday, I was pleased to attend meetings of the Juvenile Justice Systems Improvement Project (JJSIP) at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale. Shay Bilchik, Director of the Georgetown University’s Center for Juvenile Justice Reform Center, along with Laura Moneyham, Assistant Secretary for Residential Services; Tim Niermann, Assistant Secretary for Probation and Community Intervention; and Mark Greenwald, Director of Research and Planning, presented an overview of the project, hosted an interactive questions and answers period, and facilitated a structured discussion on the implementation plan. These meetings were a follow up to the rollout of the JJSIP in Broward County in December 2014. Thank you to Chief Probation Officer Cassandra Evans for organizing the event.   


The JJSIP is a national initiative to reform the juvenile justice system by translating "what works" into everyday practice and policy. Administered by Georgetown University's Center for Juvenile Justice Reform, the JJSIP provides a framework for implementing best practices throughout the entire juvenile justice system.  


Youth Success Day


Each year, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), members of the Florida Juvenile Justice Association (FJJA), the Florida Juvenile Justice Foundation (FJJF), and youth program providers celebrate Youth Success Day. It is hard to believe, but Youth Success Day 2015 is quickly approaching!



To celebrate youth success, DJJ selects Youth Ambassadors to be recognized at the Youth Success Day Press Conference which will be held at 9:00 a.m. on April 14.  We need your help identifying youth who are celebrating success! The Youth Ambassador nomination form can be found here for your use in nominating a youth to be recognized for their success. Youth Ambassadors must have touched the juvenile justice system in some fashion and be age 22 or younger. Nominations will be accepted through March 13th.  



We look forward to receiving your nomination, and cannot wait to congratulate the DJJ Youth Ambassadors on their hard work towards a path to success and the inspiration that they provide for us all!


Probation Update

CPO Jennifer Haynes and JPOSs Crystal Brown and Korri Stallworth from Circuit 10 coordinated and attended the NAACP faith partners meeting in Winter Haven on February 21. The meeting was designed to strengthen the faith based efforts within the local community and help local youth in need. The majority of the people in attendance were youth from the Winter Haven Chapter of the NAACP who, along with their parents, learned about the ways that youth can help each other. 



Attached is a letter received by SJPO Tianna Greene from a youth at a program in reference to the excellent, heartfelt work and effort that she puts forth on a daily basis. This letter served as a reminder that what Tianna does to impact the lives of youth and families truly counts, is appreciated and falls in line with the mission of this department. It reads: 









AMIKids Panama City Marine Institute received a letter of recognition from State Senator Don Gaetz last week for their efforts to provide career and technical training for our at-risk youth who are struggling to complete their high school education. While many of the current programs are designed for students who are at or above grade level, PCMI teaches many youth who come from struggling families and are well below their grade level. These youth in particular require a unique approach to providing them with the necessary life skills. On behalf of the Department, I would like to congratulate AMIKids on this well-deserved recognition. 







On February 21, SJPOs Marlene Jefferson and Bonita Williams, Reform Specialist Melinda Wesley-Nelson and Community Service Coordinator Barber McNealy from Circuit 9 participated in the Plymouth FUN Community Clean-Up in the suburb just outside of Orlando. The event was sponsored by the residents of Plymouth, the Orange County Government Neighborhood Preservation and Revitalization Division, and Orange County Commissioner Bryan Nelson. Our DJJ staff accompanied several probationary youth who earned valuable community service hours for their hard work during the clean-up. 


The Success Through Empowerment Program (STEP) team in Circuit 11 collaborated with theSTEP Farm Share Mount Zion AME Church of Miami Gardens on February 7 to assist with Farm Share, which distributes food to those less fortunate in the local community. The STEP team handed out meat, green beans, zucchini, bread and canned goods while serving over 1000 households consisting of 3,360 people. The  STEP team also helped these community members by carrying the bags out to their car. The event was a huge success and the youth earned community service hours in the process. 



JPOS Stephanie Riley and SJPO Derrick Dillard from Circuit 15 and several probationary youth participated in the Teens Against Graffiti (TAG) Project on February 21 in Boca Raton. This project is a collaboration between our agency and the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office in an effort to eradicate graffiti thereby fostering community pride and promoting safety. The TAG Project allows our youth to earn community service hours while developing self-worth as they work to restore the image of their local community and build a positive relationship with local law enforcement. The TAG Project will take place monthly in areas across Palm Beach County.


DJJ Circuit 1 Probation staff recently spoke to the League of Women Voters in Okaloosa County regarding Civil Citation. The League of Women Voters requested information about Civil Citation in preparation for one of their upcoming panel discussions. The information DJJ provided was data specific to Okaloosa County and was sent to both the League and the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.


DJJ staff in Circuit 12 collaborated with the SURE faith based group on a proposal that would allow civil citations for youth in Sarasota County who are not best served through the Teen Court Model. This comes on the heels of the faith based group LIFE in Lee County whose contributions have increased the support for civil citations which served over 43 percent of the eligible youth. Civil Citation Coordinator Theda Roberts met with the LIFE group this week and has made plans to attend the Lee County Nehemiah Call to Action Conference in March.


Detention Update

Last week, VSA Artist Marlene Jacobowitz visited with students at the Marion RJDC in Ocala to help them create various art projects. Marlene is a frequent visitor of the facility, and helps our youth to come up with designs and themes to decorate the facility. This week Marlene assisted our youth in making a “mod podge” design. The students really enjoyed working on this project and are looking forward to creating a mural in the weeks to come. 


Prevention Update

DJJ Faith Coordinator Craig Swain and Circuit Advisory Board Liaison Yvonne Maffia met with faith partners in Palm Beach, Broward, and Polk counties respectively February 18-20. Faith partners gathered to seek direction for their Circuit Faith Networks, develop Circuit Faith Network recruiting strategies and engagement plans, identify ways to accomplish Circuit Faith Network Goals, to gain a better understanding of opportunities within the Faith Network, identify potential partners for collaborations, and share information.

The goals of the Faith Network are to support existing youth programs and assist in developing new ones designed to meet the needs of youths and their families, encourage faith leader involvement in juvenile justice issues, recruit volunteers, and develop resources for faith and community partners to prevent youth from entering the DJJ system or from going deeper into the system.


Youth from the PACE Center for Girls of Broward County, a DJJ Prevention provider, attended a Holocaust Survivors presentation on January 27 in Fort Lauderdale, in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day. The girls at PACE Broward were fortunate to have two Holocaust survivors visit the Center to share their experiences of surviving the Holocaust, which was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators during the Second World War.


Ms. Zelda shared that she and her family were able to escape fleeing from Poland to the Soviet Union and then to Siberia. She did not have to experience the actual concentration camps.

Ms. Katherine told of the experience she shared with her sister and mother surviving three different concentration camps including Auschwitz through the end of the war. 

They graciously answered questions and offered encouragement and words of wisdom to the girls, comparing their struggles and survival with the current struggles and survival of young women such as Broward’s PACE girls.


Prevention staff members Verla Lawson-Grady and Onazina Washington set up a DJJ display table in collaboration with the Healthy Start Coalition at the Renewed Life Outreach Center in Greenville on February 18. The Healthy Start Coalition, in partnership with Renewed Life Outreach Center of Greenville, have been providing a food distribution service for the last year every other Wednesday.  Church volunteers travel to the Farm Share, purchase food and supplies and return to the Coalition for quick assembly and distribution. They serve approximately 80-100 families twice monthly with the help of the local church.


In order to increase community engagement efforts DJJ and other agencies were invited to take part in this event to share valuable information or provide outreach services.  The local health department brought their Whole Child mobile unit and provided health screenings for diabetes, blood pressure screening, eye exams, etc. throughout the day.






PREA Update 

Congratulations to the Juvenile Unit for Specialized Treatment (JUST) and the Residential Alternative for the Mentally Challenged (RAM-C) residential commitment programs for passing their Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) audits this month!  The PREA audit reports can be found on the Department’s Web page by clicking here


Residential Update

In mid-February, the JoAnn Bridges Academy (JBA), a non-secure program for females, ages 12 to 18, which is operated by Youth Services International, Inc., held an essay contest as part of the social studies class and the residents gave a performance in honor of Black History Month.  The performance opened with the Lord’s Prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by reading aloud the poems “I Have a Dream” by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and “Phenomenal Woman,” “Still I Rise,” and “Alone” by Maya Angelou.  The young women then performed a skit depicting African-Americans in the 1800s, “We Were Here.”  The performers sang “Let Go, Let God” written by Dewayne Wood, and “Read All About It” written by Emeli Sand.  A few of the girls performed a praise dance known as “I Know I’ve Been Changed” and an African praise dance.  The program was hosted by the JBA 3–11 p.m. shift staff members.

One educational activity for Black History Month entailed the staff of the Orange Youth Academy (OYA) and Orlando Intensive Youth Academy (OIYA)—which are both non-secure programs for males that are operated by G4S Youth Services—along with the teachers from the Orange County Public Schools providing a field trip for 10 students to see the movie Selma


Selma is based on the three Selma-to-Montgomery (Alabama) marches in 1965, known as the “Selma Voting Rights Movement.”  Although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 desegregated the South, the problems of discrimination were still rampant with local voting registration restrictions—such as a poll tax and literacy test arbitrarily enforced by the white registrars—that made it impossible for blacks and low-income whites to register to vote.  Led by James Bevel, Hosea Williams, John Lewis, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., activists publicized the three protest marches and thousands walked the 54-mile highway from Selma to the capital of Alabama, Montgomery.  The Selma-to-Montgomery marches and the efforts of the historic figures featured in the film culminated in President Lyndon Johnson signing into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965. 


The Okaloosa Youth Academy, a non-secure program for males, ages 14 to 18, which is operated by Gulf Coast Treatment Center, adopted a goat last week.  The boys in the program set about building a shelter for the goat—mostly to keep him from eating the food put out for the chickens in the coop next door—and they are still competing in a “Name the Goat” contest.

Juvenile Justice Officer Graduation Ceremonies


Congratulations to the juvenile detention officers (JDOs) and juvenile probation officers (JPOs) who graduated today in separate ceremonies at DJJ headquarters, in Tallahassee, and Valencia College, in Orlando.  Thanks to DJJ Chief of Staff Fred Schuknecht for delivering the graduation address to the Florida Public Safety Institute class at DJJ headquarters, and Kevin Housel, chief of detention services in the central region, for addressing the graduating class in Orlando.  Kudos to Learning consultants Christina Ash and Tanesha Blackmon of the Office of Staff Development and Training, who trained the officers for this position of critical responsibility.  The officers will work in the city or facility listed next to their names.



Juvenile Justice Detention Officer Academy at Valencia College

Left to right:  Bryant Howard–Brevard Regional Juvenile Detention Center, Marcus James–Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center (RJDC), Wilfredo Mercado–Orange RJDC, Brandon Fancher–Orange RJDC, David Drenga– Brevard RJDC, Shawn Lukas–Orange RJDC, Stephanie Aguillard–Orange RJDC, Maria Rivera–Orange RJDC, Trenise Carter– Orange RJDC, Sergio Benitez–Brevard RJDC, Tiffany Santiago–Hillsborough RJDC, Brittany Pratt– Orange RJDC, Alexandra Weary–Brevard RJDC.   

Juvenile Justice Probation Officer Academy at Florida Public Safety Institute

Front row:  Erik Skow–Jacksonville, Terrance Watkins–Gainesville, Tara Heinle–Naples, Allis Richardson–Stuart, Rhonda Gard–Pensacola, Shawnta Walker–Trenton, Valentina Wiltshire–Jacksonville, Nathalie Adonis–Belle Glade, Leilanie Zeller–Green Cove Springs, Antonio Ramriez–Inverness



Middle row:  Judy Copeland–Milton, Adam Morkan–Vero Beach, Samuel Lyons–Ft. Pierce, Samantha Hartzog–Lake City, Amanda Donaldson–Ft. Myers, Cynthia Barkley-Smith–Jacksonville, Andrew O'Brien–Milton, Julie Johnson–Ft. Walton Beach, Ronald Dolbeck–Gainesville



Last row:  Felicia Moore–Trenton, Jon Johnson–Daytona Beach, Charles Dutton–Alachua, Chaderick Lancaster–Milton, Gerry Pea–Pensacola, Michael Allshouse–Ft. Walton Beach


Health Services Update


The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) recently partnered with the University of Florida Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry to pilot a statewide toll free telephonic 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. It does not represent a second opinion, but is an educational line designed to give information about psychotropic medications.


To schedule a consultation, please call 877-942-7868. Consult line staff will take information about the youth, including age, height and weight, medication history, and the reason for contacting the consult line. Daily appointment slots will be available, and all appointment time will be provided within two working days after the initial contact. The consultation will be provided by experienced licensed physicians who hold certification in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. A written summary of the consultation will be sent by fax after the call.


The consult line is available Monday through Fridays, between the hours of 9:00am until noon and 1:00pm until 4:00pm Easter Daylight/Standard Time except for approved state and federal holidays, the University of Florida Homecoming Holiday in October, and December 26th through December  31st of each year. If callers receive an answering machine during work hours, a brief message should be left with the name of the caller and the best number to reach the caller; answering messages should be returned within an hour of the original call.



Toll-free number 877-942-7868


9:00am until noon and 1:00pm until 4:00pm Easter Daylight/Standard Time


Staff Development and Training Update

SD&T is proud to announce that several new tools and initiatives to enhance the learning and development of juvenile justice professionals have been presented during February 2015! Here’s a roundup of February’s innovations:



Training Advisory Council — SD&T has intensified focus on servicing the full learning needs of the juvenile justice professional, and the office seeks to strengthen services through collaboration with informed and engaged stakeholders. To support these efforts, twelve individuals representing internal and external stakeholders have agreed to commit their expertise to the continual improvement of agency training efforts, and serve on the DJJ Training Advisory Council.



Balanced and Restorative Justice — Restorative Justice is an important tool to promote social responsibility, civic awareness and remorse among youthful offenders whose actions impact the lives of others. This course explains the application of the principles needed to create responsible citizens.



Word 2013 Essentials — Introduction to Microsoft Word 2013 shows users how to create, edit and share a document.





Outlook 2013 Advanced — This e-course shows users how to take advantage of some of the more advanced features of Microsoft Outlook 2013, including customizing your profile, managing junk email, and working with notes and tasks.




PowerPoint 2013 Advanced — This e-course goes beyond creating basic Microsoft PowerPoint slides to show users how to make presentations more engaging by adding SmartArt, sound, video, and other cool tools.






Outcome Based Corrective Action Plans COMING SOON TO SKILLPRO!—One key to continual process improvement is a good plan. When corrective action is needed at a program or facility, measurable steps for improvement are crucial to ensuring good outcomes. This course offers step-by-step guidelines for creating and implementing an outcome-based corrective action plan.




COMING IN MAY: Top Trends Transforming Talent Management (instructor-led workshop)
If you are a leader or aspiring to be a leader, you know the workforce is rapidly transforming. How will it impact your organization? Join DJJ leaders from the Office of Staff Development and Training for a new and different look at talent management, a success-oriented approach to building teams and developing professional skills that heightens employee engagement. This workshop will extrapolate the convergence and implications of trending practices in a lively discussion that will give you food for thought about the possibilities for your organization. Participants will also learn how to use an individual development plan, an effective coaching tool to bring out the best in employees and retain your rising stars.



To learn more and stay up-to-date on the latest tools to enhance your knowledge and skills, click here and check out SD&T News!



FJJA Adolescent Conference

FJJA is pleased to announce the 20th annual Adolescent Conference Breaking Boundaries: Uniting for Youth, Families and Communities.


The conference offers the opportunity to share and showcase proven prevention, intervention and treatment practices, disseminate knowledge into practice, and discuss implementation of effective strategies. Over the years we have included noted researchers, national experts, treatment providers, community leaders and others, to share findings of effectiveness in adolescent care.


Workshops have included stress management, suicide prevention/bullying, intervening with gang-involved youth, faith based collaborations, incorporating e-technologies, cross-over youth, decreasing youth violence, building successful partnerships, sex trafficking of minors, family violence, detention alternatives, gender specific programming, the adolescent brain and many others. The conference theme will integrate plenary sessions and workshops together with exhibits and networking opportunities to provide attendees with the opportunity to increase their knowledge and skills and to improve adolescent services.



Monday, May 18, 2015  -  Wednesday, May 20, 2015 



The Florida Hotel and Conference Center
1500 Sand Lake Road, Orlando, Florida 32809



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