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Secretary's Message

April 11, 2017

Secretary Daly’s Weekly Letter 

Happy National Volunteer Month! We are excited to recognize April as National Volunteer Month along with the designation of April 23-29 as Volunteer Week. This month is dedicated to honoring volunteers and inspiring others to lend their time and talent to important causes in their community. DJJ recognizes the important role volunteers play in enhancing the work of our agency and how volunteers can leave a lasting impression on the youth that we serve. We are also thankful for our department staff who lend the same dedication they have for our agency to local volunteer efforts in their communities. During the month of April, we will be spotlighting volunteers that are making a difference in the lives of others in our weekly letter.

As a reminder, don’t forget that I am always looking for opportunities to showcase the work you all 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. 

Sincerely,

Christina K. Daly


Celebrating National Volunteer Month

In recognition of April as National Volunteer Month, we want to thank our volunteers for making a difference in their communities and in the lives of others.  

DJJ staff member Kim Daughtery with the Bureau of Procurement & Contract Administration serves as the co-chair for the Cross Country Volunteers for the Red Hills International Horse Trials. The horse trials are a three-day event and World Cup/Olympic qualifier which attracts athletes from around the world and is almost exclusively run by volunteers from in and around the Tallahassee area. Kim has been volunteering for the trials since 2004 and recruited fellow DJJ staff members Patricia Kenyon and Joanne Parrish to help this year.

On the Friday morning before the cross country event, disadvantaged youth from the local Boys and Girls Club and Children’s Lighthouse are brought to the site for an introduction to the sport and given a chance to ride horses from local stables. For many of these youngsters, it is the first time they have seen a horse in person.

The day of the cross country event, volunteers arrive before dawn and are there until sunset making it a very long, but worthwhile day. This year, the Budweiser Clydesdales were on-hand to the delight of the spectators. 


Herlena Washington, a retired U.S. Naval Officer, serves as a volunteer at the residential treatment program Duval Academy, where for the past 15 years she has served as the Duval Academy Advisory Board President. Under her leadership, the advisory board has provided scholarships for youth, secured food and nonperishables for both Thanksgiving and Christmas food drives, and organized numerous community outings for the youth at the program. Ms. Washington has also encouraged the young men to give back to the community as well, and because of her, youth have participated in local heart and cancer walks, fed the homeless, and participated in the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. parades in Jacksonville. Ms. Washington is truly dedicated and passionate about helping to change the lives of the young men at the Duval Academy. 

Sgt. Vikingson Dalien with the Collier County Juvenile Detention Center has been an active volunteer with the 919 Ministries (formerly known as the Naples Haitian Christian Youth Committee) since 2012. 919 Ministries is a group of leaders from local churches who seek to impact their community through spiritual growth and youth development. Sgt. Dalien initially took on the challenge of reaching out to local businesses for charitable donations in order to keep events free to attendees. Now, Sgt. Dalien serves in the role of social media assistant due to his gift of photography and videography as well as serving as an usher at 919 Ministries’ events.  

Chaplain Dennis Buchanan with River of Life Church in Dade City is both a pillar of his community and a beloved volunteer at the Pasco County Regional Juvenile Detention Center. Chaplain Buchanan assists the detention center with donations throughout the year, not only for items the youth need during their stay at the program but upon their release. Through a collaborative effort between River of Life Church and Calvary Wesley Chapel Worship Center, the detention center received gift bags filled with items including blankets, hygiene products, hats, and other items youth will need to make a fresh start. Both the youth and staff at the program feel fortunate to have such great support from these local organizations and such a strong advocate in Chaplain Dennis Buchanan. 

Joe Coleman and Guy Marvin, members of the Sunnyland Antique Boat Club have volunteered with AMIkids Jacksonville for two years. Over the past year, Joe and Guy have given both their time and talent to DJJ students at AMIkids Jacksonville by teaching them how to build a one-man boat. Once the boat was completed, Joe and Guy were able to have an outboard motor added to the boat and it was launched on the St. Johns River at the Lakeshore Marina in Jacksonville. Each student that helped build the boat was able to take a turn propelling the boat through the marina with the guidance of both men and the Sunnyland Antique Boat Club. The students learn how to use power tools, measure and fit the pieces of the boat together and learn how to paint the surface of the boat with master precision. The wealth of knowledge Joe and Guy have provided to these students is truly priceless. The students were able to take what they learned, apply it to a recreational activity they may never have had the chance to participate in,  and see that all of their persistence and hard work paid off. 

Joe and Guy visit the AMIkids campus twice per week and continue to give the students’ self-esteem building projects. The Sunnyland Antique Boat Club team may focus on building boats but they have given AMIkids Jacksonville and the students so much more. Their helpful dedication and giving nature provides an invaluable service to the students and will allow them to exit the program with not only technical skills but the ability to recognize within themselves that they can accomplish any task they set their mind to doing. 


In honor of National Volunteer Month, Manatee Regional Juvenile Detention Center Superintendent (RJDC) Terry Carter, Captains Jeffery Lonton and Brandon Jennings, Food Service Supervisor Sherry Shinholster and Secretary Specialist Melody Chisholm organized an appreciation breakfast for thirteen of the facility’s volunteers. Many of Manatee RJDC’s volunteers have been volunteering with the facility for over ten years.

Team Manatee served a full breakfast including scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuits and gravy, donuts, coffee and juice to our volunteers, and after breakfast, Major Carter spoke about the needs of the center and the youth in his care. They talked as a group about new ways they could all reach the youth after they leave the RJDC. The conversation went on for over an hour and was really helpful to the volunteers to understand some of the challenges the center has day to day. At the end of the discussion, Major Carter presented each volunteer with a certificate of appreciation. 

The Manatee RJDC also welcomed very special guests last week when singer-songwriter and author Sheila Raye Charles and her husband Tony stopped by to speak to the youth at the facility. Ms. Charles, daughter of legendary singer-songwriter Ray Charles was invited to speak by facility Chaplin Barbara Waiters. Ms. Charles shared her story of working through drug addiction to overcome her obstacles in life.


Human Trafficking Update

Human Trafficking Director Bethany Gilot presented at the Florida Chapter of the Association for the Treatment of Sex Abusers' annual conference alongside Richard Brimer. Mr. Brimer is licensed clinical social worker with years of experience overseeing sex offender treatment programs. In 2012, a new law required that those convicted of sex trafficking register as a sex offender or sex predator. The presentation provided background information on the impact of sex trafficking on victims, perpetrator tactics and motivation and the treatment implications of adding traffickers to sex offender treatment groups. Also in attendance was Katherine Gomez from DJJ's Office of Research and Data Integrity who noted that the presentation was well-received by the audience. 





Bureau of Monitoring and Quality Improvement Update

During the months of March and April, the Bureau of Monitoring and Quality Improvement (MQI) held Certified Peer Reviewer Training sessions in Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, and Gainesville. The Certified Peer Reviewer Training is a two-day event which provides an in-depth review of the MQI process, including an overview of all MQI standards, rating definitions, debriefing process, and basics of writing an annual compliance report. Participants will receive elective credit hours in SkillPro for attending and passing the Certified Peer Reviewer Training.

All training sessions were taught by the Bureau’s regional monitors and regional monitoring supervisors. Participants from across the state included contracted provider staff and DJJ program area staff. Certified Peer Reviewer Training is available twice a year for all department staff and contracted provider staff who are interested in learning more about the MQI process and assisting the Bureau of Monitoring and Quality Improvement when conducting on-site annual compliance reviews. If you are interested in becoming a Certified Peer Reviewer, please ensure you have taken the DJJ’s Motivational Interviewing training as it is a pre-requisite for the Certified Peer Reviewer Training. The next Certified Peer Reviewer Training session will be held in Fall 2017.


Detention Update

Deputy Secretary Tim Niermann, Assistant Secretary for Detention Services Dixie Fosler, and Detention Services Chief of Policy and Planning Colette Antozzi recently made a site visit at the Volusia RJDC in Daytona Beach.

The team were in the area for Circuit 7 Chief Probation Officer David Kerr’s retirement party and stopped by the facility to visit with staff, including Volusia RJDC’s Assistant Superintendent Andrea Akins, pictured left. 


Check out this great story here, which features Leon Regional Juvenile Detention Center’s aquaponics garden. The garden came to be with the help of Michele Madison-Corichi and Farming the Future, a STEM based project that provides interactive learning experiences for community members through aquaponics based production and 21st century farming.


Juvenile Justice Officer Academy Graduation Ceremony

Congratulations to the newest juvenile justice detention officers (JDO) who graduated from the Collier Regional Juvenile Detention Academy March 31st.  Thanks to Kevin Housel, South Regional Director for Detention Services, for delivering the graduation address for the JDO graduation. Kudos to Learning Consultant Manager Andrea Minnis, Statewide Reviewer Supervisor, Barbara Campbell and Project Manager, Jon Howard for training the officers in these positions of critical responsibility. The graduates will work in the detention centers listed next to their names.

Collier RJDC Graduates 

Back Row (Left to right):  Elias Emmanuel (Monroe); Francois Pierre Paul (Collier); John Combettes (SW FL): Alton Jennings, Jr. (Collier)

Middle Row:  Wilson Chevery (SW FL); Atashi Lewis (Collier); Loudmie Marc (Collier); Yvonne Joseph (Collier); Kendra Edison (SW FL); Anthony Henderson (SW FL); Sabina Dauzhankova (Collier)

Front Row: Natasha Noel (SW FL); Diedra Perkins (Collierl); Ethel Gross (Collier); Angela Coulter (SW FL); Shumaneat Carter (Collier); Joanne Brito (Collier); Devon Cason (SW FL); Taylor Williams (SW FL)


On March 31st, the first two Juvenile Blended Academies concluded.  The classes were held in Alachua and Broward with seasoned staff as the participants.  Kudos to Learning Consultants Bernard Smith, Denise Cannon and Adjunct Instructors Ayo Hinkson, Erick Buff and Anne Marie Campbell for training the staff.

Alachua JDO/JPO Blended Academy Class

Back Row (Left to right):  Learning Consultant Bernard Smith, Jeremiah Jones (JPO), Harry Richburg (JDO), Aparna Clarke (JPO), Curriculum & Evaluation Supervisor Kenny Reeves, Ebony Robinson (JPO), Linden Dopler (JPO)

Front Row: Kimberly Claudio (JPO), Kimberly Parker (JPO), Peacena Samuels (JPO), Samantha Hartzog (JPO), Tonya Bell (JDO)


Broward JDO/JPO Blended Academy Class

Top Row (Left to right):  Learning Consultant Densie Cannon, Wilmaz Damus (JPO), Cindy Lundy (JDO), Vera Woods (JPO), Tiffany Patrick (JPO), Nathaniel Francis (JPO), Julie St. Louis (JPO), Sherrod Anderson (JDO), Adjunct Instructors Eric Buff and Anne Marie Campbell

Bottom Row: Sharhonda Rucker (JDO), Saquondra Smith (JDO), Monica Ardila (JPO), Troy McGee (JPO), Jada Griffin (JDO), Vivian Walker (JDO)


Probation Update

Youths Luis Valle, Ryder Garcia Hayward, and Edward Ascencio with the Eckerd Kids Project Bridge transition program have faced a lot of adversity in their short lives. Whether it was dealing with difficult family situations or staying away from negative peers, there were always obstacles. On March 27, Luis Valle (pictured below, right) obtained employment at Winn Dixie with a position as a grocery stocker; on March 24 Edward Ascencio (pictured below, left) obtained employment at McDonald’s and on February 17 Ryder Garcia (pictured below, center) obtained employment at a Hawaiian restaurant business called Poke 305. Eckerd Kids Project Bridge Career Services Coordinator Paula Ramirez and Transition Coordinators Eddy Cesar and Christopher Leno share that all three youth were a pleasure to work with. These youths have definitely proven that it's never too late and that everyone deserves a second chance.






Congratulations to Circuit 20 JPO Johnny Young who was named the Circuit’s Employee of the Quarter for the first quarter of 2017. Young began with the probation office back in January of last year after transferring from the Office of Detention Services where he worked for the last seventeen years. He is very passionate and dedicated in making a positive change and serving as a role model for the youth in his caseload. JPO Young consistently goes beyond the scope of this position. He also provides Protective Action Response (PAR) and CPR training to all circuit staff. He consistently provides the circuit with annual training calendar for PAR and CPR on a timely basis and goes above and beyond in assisting with the scheduling for new staff and remedial classes. Circuit 20 is proud and honored to have JPO Johnny Young working side by side with probation staff. He is a tremendous asset and a valuable team member.



Circuit 8 probation staff members recently held their quarterly meeting at Camp Anderson summer camp in Old Town. Camp Anderson recently received the ‘Champions of Hope’ award from Florida Governor Rick Scott at the National Faith Symposium for its work with at-risk youth, and many agencies including DJJ have teamed up with Camp Anderson to make a real difference in the lives of the youth we serve in the hopes of guiding them to a better path in life. The staff consists of skilled ministry professionals who, along with the camp’s team members, have hearts of missionaries and are passionate about helping to meet the spiritual needs of these youth. 


Circuit 12 JPO Adam Weigand organized a number of community service work projects for our probationary youth to take part in over the spring break holidays. JPO Weigand and his crew of over 30 youth completed over 500 hours of community service work in Manatee County including clean-up efforts in parks, shorelines, a cemetery and a playground. During these projects, several of our youth were able to complete all of their assigned work hours which moved them a step closer to having their cases closed. I would like to thank JPO Weigand for organizing these trips and to the Manatee RJDC who loaned their vans for transportation each day. 



JPOS Paula Serrano, JPO Jose Garcia and Reform Specialist Shirlon McCarty from Circuit 15 hosted a DJJ information table during the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Community Outreach Fair at Pickwick Park in Greenacres. This special event was created to educate the public on the available resources in the area and allow parents an opportunity to have their small children fingerprinted. The DJJ staff spoke with youth on the importance of attending school and avoiding negative peer associations. Parents were given family engagement brochures and pamphlets on available prevention programs in the area.


JPOS Eugene Babb, JPO Rontavious Atkins and Reform Specialist Shirlon McCarty from Circuit 15 participated in the Pahokee Youth Empowerment Summit on March 25. The summit was a collaboration between DJJ, the City of Pahokee, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and many other partners and stakeholders. The theme this year was “Empowering Youth through Knowledge-Bridging the Gap between Youth and the Community.” The youth that participated received useful information on healthy relationships, cyberbullying, sexting, drug and alcohol abuse, lifetime of consequences, gang prevention and how to handle police approach.


Circuit 16 probation staff including CPO Geoff Peattie, JPOS Fred Vrgora, JPOs Nancy Masry, Janet Maconi and Rose Bradford, Reform Specialist Elaine Thompson, Secretary Specialist Tammy Blackburn and CS Michelle Whitehead organized a basketball game and cookout for local probationary youth in honor of Youth Success Week. The event was well attended by probationary and diversion youth, as well as several stakeholders including Monroe County School liaison Mike Henriquez and DJJ faith network member and founder of Circuit 16’s STEP program Pastor Antonio Magwood. 


Prevention Update

As we continue to highlight the volunteer efforts of our staff members during National Volunteer Month, I am pleased to share this story of Assistant Secretary for Prevention and Victim Services Alice Sims. Alice volunteered with the Big HITS Foundation during the 2017 Juice High School Tour at Rickards High School in Tallahassee on March 29. The Juice High School Tour, is a mobile event that promotes education and community for high school students throughout the states of Florida and Georgia.

The mission of the tour is “a helping hand builds community, strong communities foster hope.” The Juice Tour believes that success begins with an individual’s commitment to community. By lending one’s time and effort to the place they call home, traits such as discipline, respect and work ethic are learned. Through initiatives like community service, volunteering and social responsibility, the tour teaches an individual that positive contributions within your own backyard guarantee success wherever you go.

Rickards High School is one of 10 Florida schools that was included in the 2017 tour.  One student at each school receives the Cititrends $4,000 scholarship for 4 years.  Benjamin Rushin, who has a 4.33 cumulative GPA was the recipient of this year’s scholarship.  The tour fosters academic excellence as the 200 plus students in attendance were all A-B honor roll students in the 10th thru 12th grades.  Assistant Secretary Sims met with Principal Douglas Cook and Dr. Deborah Barnes about partnering with the Department to host future G.A.A.P. discussions at Rickards High School.  We are very excited about this future partnership with Rickards High School.  


Chief of Research and Data Integrity Mark Greenwald provided an update on the Comprehensive Accountability Report (CAR) during the Office of Prevention and Victim Services weekly staff meeting on March 30 at DJJ Headquarters in Tallahassee. Each year, DJJ reports the outputs and outcomes of juvenile justice programs in Florida. The focus of program outcomes for these reports is the recidivism rate for youth released, defined as adjudications, adjudications withheld or convictions for offenses that occurred within 12 months of their release from commitment programs (or within 6 months of release from prevention programs).

According to the 2015-16 CAR, “DJJ is charged by the Legislature with providing delinquency prevention services for at-risk youth. These services are designed to address specific problems and provide intervention for at-risk youth and their families in order to reduce juvenile crime and protect public safety.” Data from almost 1,000 different programs and case management units of the Prevention and Victim Services, Probation and Community Intervention, Detention Services, and Residential Commitment Services branches of DJJ were also collected and analyzed. The CAR is published by the DJJ Office of Research and Data Integrity.


Juvenile Circuit Judge and State Advisory Group (SAG) member Judge Daniel Dawson was recognized by the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program as an Honorary Guardian ad Litem on April 4. An Honorary Guardian ad Litem is a community leader who supports the mission of the Guardian ad Litem Program to represent the best interests of Florida’s abused, abandoned, and neglected children. The Guardian ad Litem Program has established the title of Honorary Guardian ad Litem for those select community leaders who have gone to great lengths to support the program’s mission and goals. Judge Dawson is one of those great community supporters and now Honorary Guardian ad Litem.

Judge Dawson’s dedication to the children and families in Florida is apparent to all who have met him. He has worked to better the lives of children through his work on the Florida Bar Juvenile Rules Committee, the Florida Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Statewide Advisory Group, the Governor’s Child Abuse Prevention and Permanency Advisory Council and the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice – and that is just to name a few.


Residential Update

 

The youth at Cypress Creek Juvenile Offender Correctional Center, a secure program for boys, ages 15 to 21, which is operated by G4S Youth Services, LLC, held an indoor recreation Tug-O-War between the residents and with some staff members.  Supervisor Budnick is seen here helping his team take the victory!  AFA Poyser is shown just before declaring the win.

Later that week during group, Alpha Dorm Therapist Parker played Anger Feud with the Alpha Dorm, with youth T.W. as the “game show” host.  We all know group can sometimes be nerve-wracking for the youth but we also know that they need help in learning how to deal with everyday issues.  In this group, Ms. Parker got help from the staff to come up with answers of what may angers us.  The Alpha Dorm youth seemed pleased with the game and really got into it.  The game helped the youth learn how to deal with issues that may anger them on a daily basis, such as: getting ready for school, not understanding certain things, and being hungry.  Youth T.D stated, “I really liked it; it was a lot of fun and helped pass time faster.”

At the end of the day everyone at Cypress Creek won, learning how to cope with stressful situations without getting angry.  


At Saint John’s Youth Academy, a secure program for boys, ages 14 to 18, which is operated by Sequel TSI of Florida, LLC, the staff and teachers continue to focus on the program’s core norm: “Saint John’s is an opportunity, not a punishment.” 

Last month, one youth opted to remain in the program an extra 45 days in lieu of going into a foster care placement.  While in the program, the young man obtained his GED® and is now traveling off campus daily to work with Operation Hope.  He is involved in a four-week job readiness course that will prepare him for a career in retail, which he attends every day from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.  

Operation Hope is a nationally-recognized program assisting youth and adults who have been incarcerated.  They have developed a program in which major companies in the Jacksonville area use the program as their sole referral source for employment.  The Saint John’s Youth Academy student is now participating in the intense four-week course that focuses on interviewing skills, appropriate conduct, resume building, and specific job skills for the career he seeks. 

Each week, Operation Hope participants are given an incentive of $50 for being on time and for adhering to the dress code.  Facility Administrator Orvando Freeman said, “We are excited to be in partnership with Operation Hope, which has become an extension of our independent living dorm.” 

The services are free to all youth from the Duval County area.  Sequel is excited about the program and has added additional staff coverage to be with the individuals as they go through their day in the community.


The youth at the Melbourne Center for Personal Growth (MCPG), a non-secure program for boys, ages 13 to 18, which is operated by AMIkids, Inc., had an opportunity to attend the Melbourne Air Show.

On April 2, MCPG Board Member Don Herndon and the MCPG youth joined thousands of people at the annual air show.  It was a chance to see the Special Operations Command parachute team, the French Aerobatics team, the Air Force Thunderbirds, and others in the air and in action.  On the ground, the boys met Jet Dragster Elaine Larson and her team.  She told the youth that she never let being a female in a male-dominate world affect her in anyway. “Drag racing is the equalizer, on any given day.  I have the same chance as anyone to win.  It just has to be my day!” she said. 

Soon, Ms. Larson will bring a dragster to the MCPG school for show and tell, which is one exciting visit the boys are looking forward to.




The staff and residents of the Orange Youth Academy (OYA), a non-secure program for boys, ages 14 to 18, and the Orlando Intensive Youth Academy (OIYA), a non-secure program for boys, ages 12 to 18, which are both operated by G4S Youth Services, LLC, have been celebrating Black History Month.  The staff members and the members of the education department participated in a week of wearing Black History related attire, as well as a potluck dinner.  











The Education Department of Orange County Public Schools and Lead Teacher Tiffany King had the youth prepared and ready for a dynamic Black History program.  The young men, dressed in shirts and ties, formed a choir and sang “Lean on Me” for the audience.  The students also read aloud poems and two students presented excerpts from Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.  The education department invited two special guests to speak to the students, giving them words of encouragement and inspiration.  


Palm Beach Youth Academy, a high-risk program for boys, ages 15 to 21, which is operated by Sequel TSI of Florida, LLC, held a graduation ceremony for three boys who successfully obtained their high school diplomas in March. Two of the boys are scheduled to be discharged in the coming days and the program staff and teachers wanted to ensure that their accomplishments were celebrated prior to their departure. 

In addition to all of the educational staff and facility staff, those who attended the graduation ceremony included representatives from the local school district.  After the ceremony, everyone was treated to a special southern-style brunch.  As the end of the school year approaches, the program has set a goal to surpass last year’s number of graduates, which was the largest class the facility had ever seen.


News Employees Can Use 

Protecting Confidential Data

As DJJ employees, we often work with sensitive or confidential data. There are many methods to keep our data safe, but one common method is to make sure we are encrypting any email that contains sensitive data.  When sending confidential or sensitive data to someone via DJJ email, adding one word will automatically encrypt your email message when sent.  To encrypt, simply add either the word ENCRYPT or the word CONFIDENTIAL in the subject line or the body of your email message.  Protecting sensitive data is critical, but is also easy to do!



Financial Information System (FIS)

FIS is the web-based system that allows DJJ users to locate and verify payments processed by the Department to vendors, employees and other governmental entities, as well as, tracking organizational code spending at the Departmental (DJJ) and Central (DFS) level.  FIS also houses the department’s title files for the different codes used in financial planning, such as organization code, fund code, object code, etc. 

Recently, there have been some questions as to the definition of the abbreviated fields provided in FIS.  In an effort to provide the users with a comprehensive list of the most common report fields in FIS, a listing of the abbreviated field titles, the long title and the field definition, along with tips for their usage can be found here. This list may be used as a desk reference for FIS users. 



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