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Secretary's Message

June 29, 2015

Secretary Daly’s Weekly Letter

As we all celebrate this upcoming Independence Day weekend, I hope that you will take a moment to reflect on the freedoms and liberties we celebrate in this great country of ours. Because of the strong beliefs and ideals of those set to create a new nation, we are like none other in the world. One where families, friends, neighbors and strangers can come together to celebrate our lives, liberties and pursuit of the American dream.

Looking to our freedoms, I also want to take a moment to thank the brave men and women who have fought and served in the nation’s military to ensure each of us continues to be afforded those liberties; each of them, and their families, make sacrifices every day for each of us. Thank you for those sacrifices.  

 I hope you all have a great July 4th.


Christina K. Daly

Probation & Community Intervention Meetings

On Wednesday, I was in Orlando for meetings with probation reform specialists, school transition specialists from county school districts and chief probation officers. During these meetings, I shared my vision for the future and the reforms that we are consistently striving to implement in the lives of the youth that we serve. I spoke about the critical component of family engagement in the work we are trying to accomplish in programs and communities across the state and the dependence our success has on reaching not only youth but families as well.

In addition, I spoke about one of my true passions – transition services – and how our agency has a responsibility to prepare our youth for reentering society so that they can become more positive and constructive adults. Furthermore, during the reform specialists’ meeting we talked about the EPICS curriculum and how our reform specialists will assist with the rollout of this critical reform to community supervision. Moving forward, these reform specialists will become EPICS coders to ensure the efficient implementation of the program.  

Highlands Youth Academy Visit

On Thursday, I had the opportunity to visit with youth and staff at the Highlands Youth Academy in Avon Park. Highlands, which is operated by G4S Youth Services, serves 80 males, ages 16 to 19, in a non-secure residential commitment program where youth receive behavioral and mental health treatment services. The program also provides specialized vocational education, focusing on preparing youth for livable-wage employment through an intensive education-to-work continuum.

I was excited to tour the program and see the great things happening there. The youth were engaging and passionate about sharing the hard work they are putting forth in the program in preparation for their return back to their home communities.  

Prevention Update

Delinquency Prevention Specialist Tina Levene served as a guest presenter and also performed comedy for the “I Matter Too” event on June 11 in Tampa. “I Matter Too” is an organization that mentors and tutors orphaned, abused and neglected children through the love of Jesus Christ. Tina also honored 3 recipients of the organization with achievement awards.  

In the above photo, Tina Levene (left) poses with entertainer Ayiesha Woods, receiver of 3 Gospel Music Marlin Awards, Dove Award Winner and Grammy Award nominated debut album.

Delinquency Prevention Specialist Pat McGhee collaborated with Deuces and Beyond (DAB) Community Services earlier this month educating and empowering communities while changing lives to live healthier, smarter and longer.  DAB and Pat worked together in transforming youths “inside out” by creating a program titled the 2015 Etiquette Fashion and Health Boot Camp. 

The program served 46 youth from ages 12 – 17. The camp’s goal was to transform youth through a series of workshops and presentations while focusing on inner beauty, the fashion industry, healthy choices and the world in which they live.

The program took a holistic approach and offered youth the opportunity to meet with professionals in the fashion, health and other related industries.  The presenters provided education and experience in modeling, etiquette, beauty, style, personal images, interviewing, heathy eating, making healthy choices, personal hygiene, bullying, fashion history and much more. The program aims to curb obesity and other risk factors in youth by improving knowledge and the introduction of healthier options which will fit into their lifestyle choices.

Eurest, a member of the Compass Group USA family, provides food and support services across the 50 states.  Eurest provided youth the opportunity to enjoy a full lunch with nutritional value.

Prevention staff led a community conversation last Tuesday at the Palmer Munroe Teen Center in Tallahassee. About 40 community members were in attendance. Assistant Secretary Wanda Finnie, Community Engagement Coordinator Verla Lawson-Grady and Deputy Manager Marcus Smith led the community conversation for an audience made up of primarily youth. Topics included Civil Citation, Stop Now and Plan (SNAP) program and circuit advisory boards.

Assistant Secretary Finnie also spoke to the young people about the consequences of their actions and of the importance of making wise decisions.  Zachary Gibson, Chief Child Advocate and Director, Office of Adoption and Child Protection for the Executive Office of the Governor, spoke of positive peer pressure.

Verla introduced representatives from the departments of Children and Families, Health, and Elder Affairs, Guardian ad Litem, Boys Town, PACE Center for Girls, Capital City Youth Services, Florida Network of Youth and Family Services, Children’s Medical Services and the Tallahassee Police Department. Deputy Manager Smith reminded the youth to take advantage of information provided by partners and stakeholders at the community conversation. Onazina Washington also answered questions from participants.

In the above photo, Zachary Gibson, Chief Child Advocate and Director, Office of Adoption and Child Protection for the Executive Office of the Governor, speaks at the Tallahassee Community Conversation on the importance of positive peer pressure.

Delinquency Prevention Specialist Pat McGhee teamed up with Director Terri Lipsey Scott of the Carter Woodson African American Museum in St. Petersburg on June 15 to teach etiquette to a group of about 15 youth ages 12-17. In today’s life, families miss the opportunity to eat together; therefore most youth don’t get the exposure of knowing how to set a table or the experience of dining out. This workshop accomplished both.

The etiquette classes and fashion boot camp are components of training that Pat periodically coordinates to teach life skills to youth to help them make better decisions and to be more successful in life.  

Terri Lipsey Scott facilitated the etiquette and excellence when hosting a local teen Fashion Boot Camp.  The participants learned the art of communication, phone etiquette, table manners, writing thank you notes and more. The instructions ended with a table setting competition which allowed the youth to put their skills into action at Chief’s Café Creole. The Chief’s Café Creole opened its doors to serve the youth as they put into action lessons learned, dining etiquette, healthy eating options, and how culture plays a role in what they eat as well as discussion regarding the challenges of running a business.

Detention Update

While traveling the Florida Keys for a community faith-based meeting, Faith Network Coordinator Craig Swain and Circuit Advisory Board Liaison Yvonne Maffia made a visit to the Monroe RJDC in Key West. Superintendent Vincent Vurro gave Craig and Yvonne a tour of the facility.

Pictured left to right are Detention Superintendent Vincent Vurro, Yvonne Maffia. Monroe RJDC Faith-Based Liaison JDOS Charnette Butler-Valdez, Craig Swain

Juvenile Justice Officer Graduations

We are pleased to announce that four classes of juvenile justice officers graduated on Friday, June 26, 2015, in ceremonies across Florida. Congratulations to all the graduates! Thanks to the learning consultants and instructors who trained the officers for this position of critical responsibility, and to the community leader who honored the graduates by delivering their graduation address. The information for each class is listed below their photographs.

Jacksonville JDO Class

Speaker – Captain Michael Philpot, Duval Regional Juvenile Detention Center

Learning Consultants – Barbara Campbell, Christina Ash, Artavia Parrish

Front Row (left to right)Ornella Stewart—Alachua Regional Juvenile Detention Center; Taylor Hudson—Duval RJDC;

Nathalie Robinson—Leon RJDC

Second Row:  Anthony Veal—Duval RJDC; Deanna Massey—Volusia RJDC; Madeline Connaughton Volusia RJDC; William Pease—Alachua RJDC; Peter Butler—Alachua RJDC; Phillip Beauford Marion RJDC

Third Row:  Kevin Kirkland—Duval RJDC; Laron Morton—Duval RJDC; Michael McGee, Sr. —Duval RJDC; Whitney Brown—Leon RJDC

Broward JDO Class

Speaker – Chief Dwayne Flournoy, Hallandale Beach Police Department

Learning Consultant – Andrea Minnis

Front row (left to right):  Benny McCoun— Broward Regional Juvenile Detention Center (RJDC); Geraldo Gonzales—Broward RJDC ; Sonita Hill—Collier RJDC; Arnaldo Rondon—Miami–Dade RJDC

Back Row: Andrea Minnis—SD&T learning consultant manager; Ernest Goodley—Broward RJDC;; Philip Bruno— Broward RJDC; Lenin De La Cruz—Broward RJDC


Margate JPO Class

Speaker – Chief Dwayne Flournoy, Hallandale Beach Police Department

Instructors – Nicos Antonokos, Maryann Sanders, Denise Cannon, Jeff Barrett, Josie Ashton, Geeta Loach–Jacobson,  and SD&T Deputy Director Cina Wilson Johnson

Front row(left to right)Joseph Rizzi III—Circuit 15; Dexter Wint— Circuit 17; Jonathan Delgado— Circuit  17; Micah Taylor— Circuit 6

Middle row:  Pektra Edgerton— Circuit 15; Providencia Gousse— Circuit 17; Pamela Braynen— Circuit 17;  Janielle Murphy— Circuit 17; Dontallis Render— Circuit 17; Chanel Oliver—Circuit 17; Turron McCoy— Circuit 17;  Niya Owens–Norfleet — Circuit 9;  Yemileth Casado— Circuit 17; Adrea Hightower—Circuit 17

Back row: , Kip Jackson— Circuit 17;  Monica Ardila—Circuit 17; April Renton— Circuit 9; Thomasina Johnson— Circuit 6; Simone Harris— Circuit 17; Brelan Ivory— Circuit 15


Valencia JDO Class

Speaker – Frank Gargett, Regional Director for Detention Services in the Central Region

Learning Consultants – Tanesha Blackmon

Left Column (Top to Bottom): Samone Moss— Brevard Regional Juvenile Detention Center (RJDC); Michael Cappola Brevard Regional Juvenile Detention Center (RJDC); Mark Norris Seminole County Sheriff's Office RJDC; Brandon Smith— Orange RJDC; Jean Julmiste Orange RJDC 

Middle Column:  Othniel Harvey Orange RJDC; Marlon Reese Seminole County Sheriff's Office RJDC; Ervin Dunston Orange RJDC; Dominique Telot Orange RJDC

Right Column:  Douglas Fawcett Brevard RJDC; Gerson Saladin Orange RJDC; Clinton Broadway Orange RJDC; Tommy Duhart Orange RJDC


Probation Update

Recently, the Circuit 4 Juvenile Drug Court added a family engagement and counseling component which was sponsored by River Region Human Services. Reform Specialist Donna Clayton accompanied twenty-two youth and their families to this session which was held after a JDC review with Juvenile Circuit Judge Henry Davis. Parents were taken to the courthouse cafeteria where they engaged with staff members while the youth completed drops testing with River Region counselors. Afterwards, youth parents and staff had dinner together. This new family engagement component will take place quarterly. 

In the above photo from left to right are: Kimberly Taylor (Director of River Region). Maesha Gulley (River Region Counselor); Juvenile Drug Court State’s Attorney, Jerald Helm (River Region Counselor); Jennifer Russell (Juvenile Drug Court Case Manger)

Circuit 2 JPOS Teresa Chambliss and the Beautiful Girls Book Club recently spearheaded a car wash and chicken dinner fundraiser to help our probationary youth pay off their outstanding court fees and restitution. DJJ staff and probationary youth spent the day interacting with the community while washing vehicles and handing out lunches. All told the circuit raised over $1,000 through this spectacular event.

Circuit 9 JPO Elizabeth Wynn and her husband, Corporal Gregg Wynn from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, coordinated a most memorable event for our boys in the Stop Now and Plan (SNAP) group in Orlando on June 22. Elizabeth and Gregg invited Sheriff’s Deputy Alicia Pellegrino from the Orange Sheriff’s Mounted Patrol Unit and her horse Deputy Senator. Alicia provided these young boys with an overview of the mounted patrol in the local community and how their horses are trained and used for service. She let the boys tour the horse trailer and of course pet Senator, while sharing the importance of staying out of trouble and remaining in school. All of the boys were very engaged during the entire presentation as this event turned out to be a truly positive experience.

Pictured: Melinda Wesley-Nelson, Reform Specialist, Deputy Pellegrino, Deputy Senator, Toni Fuller, Wraparound Orange, Patrick Delerme, Wraparound Orange, and JPO Nilja Brown

SJPOs Maggie Starr and Sabrina Varo from Circuit 17 participated in a quarterly juvenile lecture hosted by the Fort Lauderdale Police Department on June 17. The lecture was intended to educate our youth about the consequences of their actions and was free and open to the public. Presenters spoke with these kids about the criminal justice system and how important it is to make better decisions. Among the presenters were Fort Lauderdale Police Capitan John Labandera, State Attorney Maria Schneider, Erin Thomas from the Youth Automotive Center of Broward County, Leann Barber from 4-H Clubs and motivational speaker Michael Lee.

JPO Eddie Bayonne from Circuit 17 spoke to at-risk teens during a youth event presented by the Florida All-Star Youth Program and the Sistrunk community on June 20 at the African American Research Library and Cultural Center in Fort Lauderdale. Eddie encouraged these young boys to steer themselves in the right direction by refraining from criminal activity. The focus of this event was to address issues that young men are facing in today’s society. All of the youth who attended earned valuable community service hours for their efforts. 

PREA Update

Congratulations to the Bay Regional Juvenile Detention Center for passing the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Audit.  Completed PREA audit reports are on the Department’s Web site here

Residential Update

Office of Residential Services North East Regional Deputy Director Billy Starke, Jr., attended the Edward Waters College (EWC) Civil Citation Graduation on June 2, 2015.  He is shown below (center) with the June graduates.  The first graduation ceremony for the EWC Civil Citation program was held in March.

The Civil Citation Program at EWC is led by EWC Career Services Director Antonio Starke and Counseling Director Ragan Summers, and is overseen by Interim Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Eric Jackson, Ph.D.  The program provides needed services to the youth and families in the Jacksonville community.

Many youth stated that the program has led to increased communication with their parents.  Parents commented that the program provided information on additional resources available to them in the Jacksonville area.  One parent shared that he believes, “The program has surely made a difference in my child and our community.”

In the last seven months, EWC has received 19 referrals and has 12 graduates thus far.  The June ceremony was very inspiring—all of the graduates shared what they learned.  Many of them said that the program challenged them to assess their decision-making process and make adjustments as needed in order to be a positive and productive member of the community. 

One youth in particular encountered many obstacles and trials.  Yet, the program leaders would not allow her to settle for less than her best.  This guidance and love from the EWC staff assisted her and the other students in completing their sanctions.

Congratulations to Edward Waters College for the positive and life-changing services you are providing to our youth. 

Last month, the Daytona Juvenile Residential Facility, a secure program for males, ages 13 to 18, operated by G4S Youth Services, LLC, held its Quarterly Family Day with 25 family members in attendance of this summer kickoff Family Day.  The weather was warm, but the ocean breeze kept everyone cool. 

The event began with the reading of a poem by one resident, who can be seen in this photo addressing the audience.  Then, another youth sang a gospel song. 

Families then participated in a social-bonding game led by Vocational Instructor Christina Smiley, which was a hit.  Family members then had a special meal with the residents of hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, and cookies.  The event concluded with an outdoor obstacle course.  Family members stated that they enjoyed themselves tremendously and expressed their appreciation of how the staff elicits positive change with the young men in their care.

At the beginning of June, the youth of the JoAnn Bridges Academy, a non-secure program for females, ages 12 to 18, operated by Youth Services International, Inc., were honored with a trip to Wild Adventures in Valdosta, GA, with approval from the Department and the youths’ guardians. 

The trip was a reward for the residents for maintaining a peaceful environment without any maladaptive behaviors for 30 days. 

The young women learned about the exotic animals—like the Meerkats—and their habitats. 

The youth enjoyed several of the rides in the theme park such as the Cheetah, Boomerang, Century Wheel, Swings, the Typhoon, and others. 

After a morning in the sun, the girls were treated to lunch the theme park’s BBQ restaurant.  They absolutely loved the outing away from the facility.

SD&T Learns from Florida Juvenile Justice Association

Cathy Craig-Myers, Executive Director of the Florida Juvenile Justice Association (FJJA) joined SD&T’s full team meeting on June 11, 2015, as a special guest. Craig-Myers thanked SD&T for its outstanding support during the 2015 Adolescent Conference. She shared her hopes for forging an even stronger partnership with SD&T, discussed continuing DJJ/FJJA shared interests and gave an overview of the history of the relationship between the two.

“I am most proud of the FJJA’s relationship with DJJ,” said Craig-Myers. FJJA and its members are highly engaged with SD&T in the Protective Action Response (PAR) Intervention Model Reengineering Project and the Training Advisory Council. “We are both focused on a few key questions: What do kids need? What does staff need to serve them? And how do we do that?” Craig-Myers believes there are opportunities to collaborate further on provider-oriented training topics, such as Building Communities of Support and How to Manage a Budget. She wants provider staff to access DJJ training and add value by creating training to share with DJJ.

Director Denny Clark reported that the recent SD&T audit by the Inspector General’s Office resulted in success, with DJJ Chief of Staff Fred Schuknecht commenting, “that’s the way an audit should go.” He also identified a few priorities for SD&T that he and COS Schuknecht recently discussed:

  • PAR Intervention Model Reengineering Project
  • Leadership Micro Learning Pilot Program
  • Succession planning

SD&T Deputy Director Cina Wilson Johnson suggested that providers may have an opportunity to obtain soft skills training if probation and detention academies are blended – a concept which is currently under development.

FJJA formed in 1993, the same year DJJ was created, to offer juvenile justice providers a platform for common interests and a unified voice to communicate with the agency. The profile of the FJJA members has kept pace with the evolution of the agency’s mission and focus. Whereas the original membership consisted primarily of residential providers, now most FJJA members provide community-based services. Traditionally, SD&T served FJJA member organizations via the residential officer certification academy. However, as the profile of DJJ services has changed, SD&T has eliminated the residential academies, leaving providers with the responsibility for ensuring their staff was trained.

FJJA’s annual Adolescent Conference is a hub for learning and information for child-serving organizations in Florida. Over the event’s 20-year history, it has become respected as a premier educational opportunity for juvenile justice professionals, offering a variety of continuing education credits on high-need and cutting-edge topics.

Craig-Myers has served as FJJA’s executive director for nine years. She brings considerable strategic planning and organizational development skills to her work, and has a background in workforce development.