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Secretary's Message

May 11, 2015


Secretary Daly’s Weekly Letter



Last week was a busy time for our agency and providers but also a special one as we observed both Public Service Recognition Week and State Employee Recognition Day.  As you read through the many accomplishments of our DJJ team below, you will see that they truly exemplify what it means to be public servants. Our staff constantly go the extra mile to provide not only the very best for the youth in our care but are committed to making our communities better.  They make me proud every day and I am honored to be a part of this amazing team of people who have dedicated their lives to public service as well as impacting the lives of our youth.  Thank you for all that you do.


As always, I am always looking for opportunities to showcase the work you do – on and off the clock – to enrich our 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




Employee of the Month

It is my great pleasure to recognize Mr. Lee Payne as our DJJ Employee of the Month! 



Lee works on our Management Information Systems (MIS)’s Northwest Region desktop support team, which includes the 1st, 2nd, and 14th Circuits as well as Headquarters.  He is responsible for providing computer support to the DJJ staff in Circuit 14 but does not hesitate to assist other users in any region as needed.  Lee has served at DJJ for 18 years and is a valued member of both the MIS team and our agency due to his strong customer focus, intelligence, and dedication to getting the job done.   



Please join me in congratulating Lee on this very deserving honor!



We look forward to highlighting our next Employee of the Month in the near future. Our agency and I would like to remind everyone to please keep sending your nominations for the monthly DJJ Employee of the Month Award. You can do so by clicking here




Florida Gubernatorial Fellows Reception


Last Thursday, Chief of Staff Fred Schuknecht and I attended a reception for the Gubernatorial Fellows Class X at the Governor’s Mansion. It was quite an honor as Class X includes DJJ’s Fellow Abigail Novak, who has worked in our Office of Probation and Community Intervention to help implement and expand the Stop Now and Plan (SNAP) program.   

 The Florida Gubernatorial Fellows Program was created from the belief that the best way to ensure Florida’s greatness is to actively educate and cultivate its future leaders. During their nine-month tenure in Tallahassee, Fellows receive advanced on-the-job training as well as an invaluable front-line view of the inner workings of government. 


FCCD Annual Awards Banquet 

Also Thursday evening, Chief of Staff Fred Schuknecht and I spoke at the Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency’s (FCCD) annual awards banquet at the Seminole Golf Club in Tallahassee. The Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the promotion of high professional standards for criminal justice agencies and criminal justice personnel.



During the banquet, Sharon Smith, Assistant Superintendent for the Leon Regional Juvenile Detention Center (RJDC) was given the FCCD’s Juvenile Justice Award for her outstanding work and years of service with our agency. 



Sharon was recognized for her exemplary leadership as she took a prominent role in transforming the environment at Leon RJDC from correctional to a trauma-informed care. On behalf of our agency, I would like to congratulate her on this well-deserved honor!

Shown left to right: Leon RJDC Superintendent Cody Wood, Secretary Christina Daly, Asst. Superintendent Sharon Smith, Chief of Staff Fred Schuknecht, and Asst. Secretary for Detention Services Dixie Fosler. 


Last Friday, I had the chance to stop by the Pat Thomas Law Enforcement Academy to have lunch with the current classes of Juvenile Detention Officers and Juvenile Probation Officers. These officers are of critical responsibility and I was excited to meet with them to discuss their work before they complete their mandatory training and enter into the field. 



DJJ Staff Member Wins Award in Restorative Justice










On behalf of the entire agency, I would like to congratulate Accountant III Doris Strong from DJJ Headquarters who was presented with the 2015 Agnes Furey Award by the Big Bend Victim Assistance Coalition during their luncheon last week. This award, named after local restorative justice champion Agnes Furey, honors those who excel in the areas of both victims’ rights and restorative justice.



Doris began her work when she made a victim awareness presentation for the inmates at the Wakulla Correctional Institution (CI) in Crawfordville and she has continued to be a facilitator in a Quest group at the prison.  She is also a NAMI volunteer and raises awareness of the importance of mental illness and treatment at churches in the African American communities.



Also included in her long list of accomplishments is her work with the Handle Me with Care Dolls Program, which provides dolls to law enforcement agencies and community centers to hand out to women and girls who have been sexually abused. She is also writing her first book about her personal journey towards forgiveness. We are fortunate to have such an outstanding individual who is so dedicated to raising awareness for victims’ rights as part of our DJJ team. 


JJSIP Update

Office of Residential Services Assistant Secretary Laura Moneyham and Director of Research and Data Integrity Mark Greenwald were invited to speak at the Juvenile Justice Reform and Reinvestment Initiative (JJRRI) All-Sites Meeting, May 4–5, about the progress of Florida’s Juvenile Justice Systems Improvement Project (JJSIP).  The JJRRI is the second generation of JJSIP; it is a practical but comprehensive approach to reforming the juvenile justice system using a research-based, data-driven, and decision-making platform to inform system improvements and service delivery.  JJRRI is an Innovation Pilot of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) with implementation in three jurisdictions: Delaware, Iowa (1st, 3rd, and 6th judicial districts), and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Among the meeting’s participants was OJJDP Administrator Robert L. Listenbee.



At the meeting, held at Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center in Washington, DC, Laura and Mark talked about the progress that DJJ has made since the inception of JJSIP in Florida four years ago.  In 2011, DJJ was selected as one of four states to participate in JJSIP, a national initiative to reform the juvenile justice system by translating “what works” into everyday practice and policy.  Technical assistance for JJRRI is provided by Georgetown University’s Center for Juvenile Justice Reform and Vanderbilt University’s Peabody Research Institute.


Human Trafficking Update 

On May 4th, DJJ Human Trafficking Director Bethany Brimer spoke at the Clearwater/Tampa Bay Human Trafficking Task Force Meeting.  Bethany, along with Department of Children and Families (DCF) Statewide Human Trafficking Director Kim Grabert, shared with local law enforcement officers resources that are available throughout the state that serve both adult and minor victims of human trafficking as well as recent legislative bills regarding human trafficking. Bethany provided the group with data collected from the DJJ Human Trafficking Screening Tool Pilot Project and informed them of the statewide launch of the current Human Trafficking Screening Tool.  The presentation generated beneficial conversation regarding law enforcement’s efforts to serve our youth and tackle the issue of human trafficking.



Over the past two months, Bethany and Kim have done joint presentations throughout the state on the collaborative efforts of DCF and DJJ to address the issue of trafficked minors and the new Human Trafficking Screening Tool. In addition to task forces, audience members have included DCF local leadership, local community based care (CBC) leadership, service providers, and delinquency and dependency judges.  DCF is currently piloting the Human Trafficking Screening Tool in limited locations throughout the state and plans to launch statewide by the end of the summer, which will serve to increase collaborative efforts between the two agencies.   


Probation Update

Last week, Circuit 20 Reform Specialist Lut Clarcq was invited to speak to the 4th grade students at Tanglewood Elementary School in Fort Myers by the school’s guidance counselor Kimberly Clement. Kimberly, an advocate for the Anti-Bullying Campaign, asked Lut to talk to the children about knowing the law and making good choices and good decisions. These students were very engaged and asked many questions.  Lut also asked these students to applaud and recognize their teachers as last week was National Teacher’s Recognition Week. 

A probationary youth in the care of Circuit 20 JPO Shana Feren won Best in Show at the Springs Arts Festival at La Belle High School. Prior to placement, this youth had completed several art projects while attending the La Belle Youth Development Academy and one of these projects, shown right, was entered into the Spring Festival. 


JPO Jimmy Cherry and Reform Specialist Michelle Galloway from Circuit 3 made a visit to the Douglass Center in Suwannee County on April 29th to visit several of the youth at the facility. The Douglass Center is a safe place where the youth in the community can hang out, play basketball, and interact with other youths in the community in a positive space. 



The Douglass Center will be running its summer tutorial program from May to July along with an afternoon recreational program. The program helps kids with math and reading skills as well as providing FCAT coaching.


Probation staff from Circuit 3 participated in a rural outreach event at the Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church in Suwannee County. The event was put on to connect those citizens in the rural parts of the county with the vital services they need. DJJ staff members were on hand to provide informational brochures and engage in discussions with the residents. This event included twelve agencies and organizations that were able to provide information to more than 50 families in attendance. Each family that participated received a first aid kit with door alarms and electrical outlet guards. The Children’s Partnership Council sent a letter thanking those agencies in attendance and I pleased to share it with you here. It reads:



On behalf of the Children's Partnership Council, ​ 


I want to thank everyone who participated in the Inaugural Rural Outreach Event held at Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church on April 25th.  It was a great success, without reach to over 50 families.  I especially want to thank everyone for giving up part of their Saturday to make this event a success.  


Recently, CPO Tom Witt, ACPO John Hancock and Reform Specialist Michelle Galloway from Circuit 3 teamed up with DJJ Faith Coordinator Craig Swain and Circuit Advisory Board (CAB) Liaison Yvonne Maffia from Prevention to attend the 2015 Lake City Job and Resource Fair at the Columbia County Fairground.  The purpose of this job fair was to showcase over 40 employers in attendance to several hundred job seekers. Michelle gathered employment information to pass on to the DJJ families on her caseload.










Case Manager Diana Newman from the Paxen program in Osceola County worked with the youth in the program on a fantastic team building exercise. The youth built virtual businesses on paper, then online, and came up with virtual names and virtual products to sell to a virtual target audience.  The youth had fun using their imaginations, while they learned some of the basics of planning a business as well as getting to know their peers (business partners) through this team building exercise.  The youth presented their businesses to the group and staff.  Their business projects are hung proudly at the Paxen Osceola site.


ACPO Dorothy Malik, JPOS George Connolly, Reform Specialist Michelle Simpson and JPO Sam Lyons participated in the St. Lucie County Health and Safety Fair on May 5th. Staff members provided information to citizens regarding the Roadmap to System Excellence, expungment of juvenile records, and other resources for parents. 




PREA Update


Congratulations to the following programs for passing the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Audit:



  • Duval Academy
  • Jacksonville Youth Academy.



Completed PREA audit reports are on the Department’s Web site and can be viewed by clicking here.




Residential Update

The Boys and Girls Club of Tabula Rasa, sponsored by residential provider Twin Oaks Juvenile Development, Inc., at the Juvenile Unit for Specialized Treatment (JUST) residential commitment program, is teaching the residents about gardening, healthy habits, and fundraising.  The students are learning about various plant and vegetable life cycles through the Garden Club.  










By working together, the young men have been growing crops from seeds, maintaining the garden, and learning new life skills. 



Some of those new skills—in addition to gardening and agriculture—include cooking what they harvest!







Last month, we reported that 10 students of the Orange Youth Academy and the Orlando Intensive Youth Academy (OYA/OIYA), non-secure commitment programs for males between the ages of 12 and 18, which are operated by G4S Youth Services, LLC, participated in the “The Youth Summer Employment Recruiting Event” at Goodwill Industries of Central Florida.  Each of the 10 young men had interviews with the various corporations represented: Ralph LaurenDisneyRainforest CafeMcDonaldsSteak ‘n ShakeYMCA of OrlandoSea World,Marriott Hotels CorporationWaffle House CorporationLandry’s SteakhouseWells Fargo,Sports AuthorityWet ‘n Wild, and Hyatt Hotels Corporation. 

One of the students received a follow-up phone call for a second interview at Waffle House to which Transitional Services Manager Vince Powell transported the young man.  Prior to the second interview, the youth was nervous and shaking, but Mr. Powell assisted him through practice interviewing beforehand.  When the student returned to the facility he exclaimed, “I got the job at Waffle House!”

Everyone in the facility congratulated him, sharing in his joy and enthusiasm.  The young man graduated from the program on a Friday and began his new job the following Monday.  Now, he is able to provide financially for his child and enjoy making money with his very first job.



Shown left is the student when he returned from his second interview.  He got the job!

About a week later, the DJJ Central Region PAR instructors teamed up with the youth of OYA/OIYA to build a healthy, safe space to play in one day.  Hundreds of children now have a new opportunity to get the balanced and active play they need so they can thrive.  An empty lot was transformed into a kid-designed play space in less than eight hours with the help of more than 200 people from the UCP of Central Florida, Disney, area residents, and organizers from KaBOOM!



The new park for the UCP Pine Hills students is more than a playground.  It’s a brain-expander, a friend-maker, and a muscle-builder.  Play is central to a child’s ability to grow into a productive adult.  The community took an empty lot and transformed it into a kid-designed play space that is accessible, inspiring children and their families to stay active.

Approximately eight different projects were completed—from building a stage with seating to painting murals, landscaping, creating sand pits, building picnic tables and benches, and completing a swing set.  The students of Orange Youth Academy/Orlando Intensive Youth Academy built the stage for the students to perform plays.  


Shown left to right:  OYA/OIYA Transitional Services Manager Vince Powell, JPO/PAR Instructor Harold Dixon, Facility Administrator and Master PAR Instructor Kerrick May, Master PAR Instructor Tanesha Blackmon, and Commitment Manager and PAR Instructor Omar Bohler helped the youth of OYA/OIYA and the community volunteers build the UCP Pine Hills playground.

Shown left, is the newly installed gym and swing set with the newly built picnic tables and benches in the background.

Also in April, five residents of OYA/OIYA not only attended Easter Services at St. John P.B. Church in Lakeland, they were able to participate in an original play written by Staff Mentor Tina Townes and Director of Case Management Robbie Smith, titled “Miracles & Blessings.”  The students practiced tirelessly to learn their parts of the play, which received a standing ovation from the congregation. 



When visitors were acknowledged, one of the boys asked for the microphone and shared his testimony, including some experiences at Orange Youth Academy and what direction he foresees for his future.  There was no dry eye in the congregation after his testimony.  After the service, Pastor Dr. Robert D. Townes, Sr., and the St. John Youth Ministry served a Sunday dinner that the OYA/OIYA boys enjoyed.


The Champions from the Miami Youth Academy (MYA), a non-secure program for males, ages 14 to 18, which is operated by G4S Youth Services, LLC, learned a few special culinary skills in the days that led up to Easter.  The MYA dietary services manager, Ms. Brockington, and dietary workers, Ms. Holmes and Ms. Pennaman, taught the boys how to create colorful, egg-shaped Rice Krispies Treats®.  

The boys also learned how to make the perfect hardboiled egg and how to create colored eggs by preparing and mixing the dye, and then they learned the art of dipping each egg for optimal color saturation.


Prevention Update

On May 5th, fourteen youth from Tallahassee graduated from the Community Connections Program at the Palmer Munroe Teen Center.  The teens, who completed the 12-week program were honored during the graduation ceremony. The ceremony featured testimonials from the graduates, their families, and friends. The graduates shared their reflections of lessons learned about the importance of empathizing with others – as a result of the nonviolent communication classes they received throughout their training. So many participants gain benefits from the program that many teens have asked to come back as assistants in subsequent cycles. It boasts a one-to-one student-to-volunteer ratio in which community volunteers are learning the nonviolent communication alongside youth.



The Community Connections program provides at-risk teens with an opportunity to develop the critical skills necessary to connect to the community at large. The restorative justice diversion program is designed for juveniles. During the Community Connections program, the teens learn effective means of nonviolent communication to address people and situations that have contributed to causing challenge and conflict in their lives. The teens learned how empathy and forgiveness lead to positive interaction and productive experiences.

The Prodigy Cultural Arts Program from the Freddie Solomon Boys and Girls Club in Brandon were invited to performed at the Bounce by the Bay event. Thirty youth participated in this NCAA 2015 Women’s Final Four event to showcase their talents from the percussion and music production classes they attend at Prodigy.



The step class also performed their routine for the crowd of over 2,000 people. It was a nice, sunny day for Prodigy youth and their families to get together by the downtown area and show what their program is all about!

Delinquency Prevention Specialist Tina Levene attended a community fund raiser entitled “Derby Day at Cove Cay,” on May 2nd at the Woodlawn Community Academy in Pinellas County. Tina led the live auction portion of the fund raiser and raised more than $900 for this school for children with special needs. One large gift basket auction item included Tina’s new inspirational book, “Little book, Big truth!” for young people.


Woodlawn’s mission is to provide a high quality individualized education to all students within a positive, safe environment. Their goal is to motivate students to become active participants in the learning process. They use the best curriculum and the best teaching practices available to help them to reach their full potential. 

The Escambia County Juvenile Justice Council celebrated their Youth Success Recognition Ceremony on April 16th at the Perry House in Pensacola. The first place poster contest winner received a $50 gift card for the poster that most represented the theme "Safe Homes, Safe Schools, Safe Communities." Two second prize poster winners received $25 gift cards. Eighteen youth were recognized with certificates of achievement. Youths also received certificates from Florida State Senator Greg Evers.



Youth were nominated by staff from the PACE Center for Girls, The Extra Mile, Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), Project Connect, Children's Home Society, Escambia Boys Base, Escambia County High School/High Tech, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. The Council received proclamations from the Escambia County School Board, presented by Assistant Superintendent Norm Ross; Escambia Board of County Commissioners, presented by Marilyn Wesley, Director of Community Affairs; and the City of Pensacola, presented by City Commissioner Gerald Wingate who also served as the Master of Ceremony.



Recognition was also given to Circuit 1 Advisory Board (CAB) Chair Ken Myers, who is retiring after more than 35 years of service with the Escambia School System. For just as long, Ken has worked with DJJ helping youth and assisting the department. Ken has also served as Escambia Juvenile Justice Chair, Vice Chair, Circuit Board Chair and the Circuit 1 CAB Chair. Ken will be dearly missed.


Special thanks to: Regina Davis, Escambia County Juvenile Justice Chair; Tarrah Holton, Secretary; and Lydia Breaux-Davis, Delinquency Prevention Specialist for planning and coordinating the ceremony.     


Recently, the young ladies from the PACE Center for Girls in Volusia and Flagler Counties spent time volunteering in their local community at the Ormond Beach Presbyterian Church. The girls helped local volunteers to pack food that will be donated to homeless and hungry individuals and families. The project was a partnership with “Stop Hunger Now” and the girls will be able to track the supplies they packaged to see where they are ultimately delivered.



“Stop Hunger Now” delivers food and life-saving aid to the world’s most vulnerable people and works to end global hunger. Established in 1998, they have provided over 180 million meals to people in 65 countries. They are based in Raleigh, N.C., and operate throughout the U.S. and through affiliates in developing countries.


Detention Update

The Detention Officers at the Volusia RJDC simulated an old-fashioned ice cream truck for those youth who earn student of the week honors at the facility. Many of these officers had such fond memories of the ice cream truck from their childhood and they really wanted to recreate it for the youth at Volusia.


Throughout the week, the teachers at Volusia award points to our youth based on school work and positive social behavior. Each student who earns 80% of the total number of points attainable is named a student of the week and gets to participate in an extra-curricular activity like this ice cream social.







Last week, the youth at the Pinellas RJDC spent part of their enrichment time working on Mother’s Day cards. The youth worked on these cards last Tuesday and Wednesday, so that they could give them to their mother’s or grandmothers during visitation on Wednesday evening. Some of the youth asked for their cards to be mailed home and were very appreciative.



In addition, several of the girls brought out their creativity as they were given sidewalk chalk to express themselves. The girls used up an entire box of chalk as they painted pictures on the sidewalks around the facility. 


FJJA Adolescent Conference 

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


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


View Event Summary


View Event Agenda


 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.