News & Events

Gov. Scott: Juvenile Arrests Drop to Historic 42-Year Low

Feb 22, 2018

Governor Rick Scott announced today that the number of juvenile arrests continued to decline in 2016-2017 according to the latest delinquency report released by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).

Gov. Scott: Juvenile Arrests Drop to Historic 42-Year Low

 

NAPLES, Fla. – Governor Rick Scott announced today that the number of juvenile arrests continued to decline in 2016-2017 according to the latest delinquency report released by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). Statewide, juvenile arrests dropped another seven percent in the last fiscal year, a five-year decline of 24 percent, and a historic 42-year low in juvenile arrests.  

Governor Scott said, “Our state has made significant strides in reforming our juvenile justice system and I am proud to announce today that juvenile arrests have dropped to a historic 42-year low. Today’s announcement would not be possible without Florida’s juvenile detention and probation officers, who work each day to redirect our youth to a successful path. I will be working with the legislature during the upcoming session to pass a 10 percent pay raise for juvenile detention and juvenile probation officers so we can reward them for their critical work.” 

The five counties with the largest populations in Florida continue to show decreases in juvenile arrests over the last fiscal year. The county with the largest drop was Orange County with a 15 percent decrease, followed by Hillsborough County with a 14 percent reduction, Broward County with a seven percent decrease, Miami-Dade County with a seven percent decrease, and Palm Beach County with a four percent decline in juvenile arrests. 

DJJ Secretary Christina Daly said, “More than six years ago, DJJ committed to improve Florida’s juvenile justice system through innovative and aggressive reforms. The continued decline in juvenile arrests year after year demonstrates our reform efforts are working. We will continue to work with law enforcement and our community partners to keep even more kids out of the juvenile justice system, provide the very best services for those that do come into our system, and work hard to help steer every youth down the right path.” 

The current report, covering a five-year period, shows an overall decline in felony offenses, including a 15 percent decrease in murder/manslaughter arrests and a seven percent decrease in aggravated assault arrests. The report also shows a year-to-year four percent drop statewide in auto theft arrests, including a 19 percent year-to-year decrease in auto theft arrests in the Central Florida region. The report also shows a 14 percent decline in overall misdemeanor arrests. 

To view the full report, click HERE.

 

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DJJ Honors 2018 Youth Ambassadors During Youth Success Day

Jan 23, 2018

Today, Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Christina K. Daly, the Florida Juvenile Justice Foundation, members of the Florida Juvenile Justice Association, legislators, and community partners honored the 2018 DJJ Youth Ambassadors during Youth Success Day at a reception at Floridas Historic Capitol.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

January 23, 2018

 

 

 

CONTACT:

 

DJJ Communications Office

 

news@djj.state.fl.us

 

(850) 921-5900

 

 

 

DJJ Honors 2018 Youth Ambassadors During Youth Success Day

 

Tallahassee, Fla. - Today, Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) Secretary Christina K. Daly, the Florida Juvenile Justice Foundation, members of the Florida Juvenile Justice Association, legislators, and community partners honored the 2018 DJJ Youth Ambassadors during Youth Success Day at a reception at Florida’s Historic Capitol.

 

DJJ Youth Ambassadors are youth in the state of Florida who have turned their lives around for the better after contact with the juvenile justice system. These ambassadors serve as mentors and role models for other at-risk kids throughout the state.

 

“The incredible stories of our Youth Ambassadors and how they’ve overcome their challenges serves as a reminder that we must never allow our past to define our future” said DJJ Secretary Christina Daly. “These young people have demonstrated that success isn’t just about what you accomplish in life, but how much you inspire those around you.” 

 

DJJ solicits nominations for the Youth Ambassador Award from providers, community stakeholders and the public at large. Youth Ambassadors received a certificate and Youth Investment Award from the Florida Juvenile Justice Foundation, which is the direct support organization for DJJ. Youth receiving awards today were:

 

Carlos Leyva: Carlos first became involved with the juvenile justice system at the age of 14 and was later committed to a residential program. In 2016, Carlos completed his program and took the initiative to complete aftercare services with Eckerd Connects Project Bridge to reach his goals. Carlos immediately began career services workshops to gain the skills needed to secure employment. His training proved successful as he was hired at a local restaurant, receiving several promotions along the way. Although Carlos has successfully graduated from Eckerd Connects Project Bridge, he regularly keeps in contact with the team and works with them to further advance his goals. Carlos looks forward to a bright future, which includes securing his own apartment and continuing his education to become a registered nurse.

 

Jazzman Lezama: Jazzman first became involved in the juvenile justice system when she was 15 years old. She was later direct filed and committed to a residential program at the age of 16. Early in life, Jazzman was involved with the foster care system, and then the juvenile justice system. Jazzman has used her past choices and decisions to motivate her to make better ones. Jazzman realized that she had the capacity to give back to the community in more positive ways. This includes being an advocate with a group called Florida Youth SHINE, which works to advocate on behalf of foster youth and child welfare issues at the state and local level. In addition, she is involved with the Palm Beach County Youth Services Department as a member of a youth empowerment group called Future Leaders United for Change. Youth Success Day is a DJJ sponsored event held each year at the Florida Capitol. This is the eighth year that DJJ has recognized Youth Ambassadors during its Youth Success Day. 

 

 

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DJJ Announces Meeting of the 2017 Detention Risk Assessment Instrument Committee Assembly

Dec 05, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 5, 2017

 

DJJ Communications Office

DJJ.News@djj.state.fl.us

(850) 921-5900

DJJ Announces Meeting of the 2017 Detention Risk Assessment Instrument Committee Assembly

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice announced it will convene a meeting of the 2017 Detention Risk Assessment Instrument (DRAI) Committee Assembly. The committee’s authority and membership is outlined in Section 985.245, Florida Statutes, and is tasked with the evaluation and revision of a detention risk assessment instrument for determinations and court orders regarding placement of a child into detention care.

The DRAI Committee will convene to discuss and approve a revised detention risk assessment instrument that improves public safety through accurate and reliable risk-prediction to ensure the appropriate detainment of youth.

The meeting is scheduled to be held December 11-12, 2017 at the Hilton Garden Inn Orlando North/Lake Mary located at 702 Currency Circle, Lake Mary, Florida.

The full agenda for this meeting can be found here.

For additional information on the meeting, please contact Minnie Bishop via email at minnora.bishop@djj.state.fl.us.

 

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Governor Rick Scott’s Securing Florida’s Future Budget Fights to Support At-Risk Youth and Families

Nov 14, 2017

Today, Governor Rick Scott announced his Securing Florida’s Future budget, which invests an additional $42.1 million into Florida’s juvenile justice system for a total of $593.4 million.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

DJJ Communications Office

DJJ.News@djj.state.fl.us

(850) 921-5900

 

Governor Rick Scott’s Securing Florida’s Future Budget Fights to Support At-Risk Youth and Families

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.Today, Governor Rick Scott announced his Securing Florida’s Future budget, which invests an additional $42.1 million into Florida’s juvenile justice system for a total of $593.4 million. This funding will support the continuation of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice’s (DJJ) reform efforts and its core mission of reducing juvenile delinquency, increasing public safety, and providing the services at-risk youth and their families need in the coming years to transition youth back into their communities and guide them towards successful adulthood.

Governor Scott said, “Florida has made tremendous progress in reforming our juvenile justice system, with our state experiencing the lowest levels of juvenile arrests in more than forty years. The Securing Florida’s Future budget continues to invest in effective programs and services that have been proven to help our youth and their families. I am also proud to recommend a 10 percent pay raise for the recruitment and retention of detention and probation officers, who have the responsibility of working with youth in DJJ care.”

“Governor Rick Scott has remained steadfast in his dedication to transforming Florida’s juvenile justice system, and the Securing Florida’s Future budget demonstrates his unwavering support for providing the best outcomes for youth and for the thousands of dedicated staff who work to better the lives of those we serve,” said DJJ Secretary Christina K. Daly. “I want to thank him for his leadership in recognizing the needs of our youth, families and staff, ensuring safer communities and a better Florida for us all.” 

 

Highlights from Governor Scott’s Securing Florida’s Future budget include:

 

$13 million to increase the number of available residential commitment treatment beds to ensure capacity for youth adjudicated to non-secure and secure residential commitment programs. Sufficient residential commitment treatment beds are necessary to ensure youth receive the required treatment to appropriately address their needs without undue delay.

 

$8 million in pay raises for juvenile probation and detention officers to support officer recruitment and retention and to reward these officers for their life changing work in the juvenile justice system.  The State of Florida has more than 2,000 juvenile detention and juvenile probation officers who work around the clock to protect and rehabilitate Florida’s at-risk youth and keep families and communities safe.

 

$9 million to continue and expand evidence-based prevention programs. Effective prevention programs have been a critical component in improving the juvenile justice system in Florida. This funding will improve public safety by providing prevention programming to additional youth while also continuing funding levels for current services.

 

$11.6 million to provide the necessary repairs and maintenance of detention, probation, and residential facilities. This funding will support security improvement and life safety projects, electrical upgrades, and ensure proper compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

 

$317,150 for the establishment of the Office of Youth and Family Advocacy within the Office of the DJJ Secretary. The Office will serve as a firsthand resource working directly with youth and families to foster communication and amplify their voice in the ongoing improvement of the juvenile justice system. This Office will continue to enhance DJJ’s robust improvement measures and give youth and their families the advocates they need to be successful.

 

What they are saying…

 

Stacy Gromatski, President and CEO of the Florida Network of Youth and Family Services, said, The Florida Network would like to thank Governor Scott for his continued focus on prevention and early intervention funding in the Securing Florida’s Future budget. Investing in prevention and early intervention programs, which also provide parenting support and skill development services for families, will keep even more children out of the juvenile justice system and on the path to becoming successful young adults.”

Christian Minor, Executive Director of the Florida Juvenile Justice Association, said, “Florida’s juvenile justice system serves as a national model for others and Governor Scott’s budget will keep our state at the forefront by providing for prevention, intervention, and residential treatment services. This comprehensive approach will help to effectively reach all youth that come into contact with our system and guide them in the right direction.”

 

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, Pinellas County Sheriff said,I applaud Governor Scott for including additional juvenile residential commitment treatment beds in his recommended budget, as well as the funds to ensure we have high quality, experienced staff to serve Florida’s youth and families. This funding demonstrates his commitment to public safety and to strengthening our communities. 

To view the complete list of Governor Scott’s budget recommendations, visit http://www.securingfloridasfuturebudget.com.

 

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In Case You Missed It Miami Herald Despite challenges Floridas juvenile justice system continues to improve

Nov 13, 2017

Recent Herald articles about the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) raise significant concerns about the agencys operation. Unfortunately, they paint an incomplete picture.

In Case You Missed It…

 

Miami Herald: Despite challenges, Florida’s juvenile justice system continues to improve


 

 

Despite challenges, Florida’s juvenile justice system continues to improve

 

By Shay Bilchik

 

Miami Herald

 

November 10, 2017

 

Link: http://hrld.us/2yQbTTn 

 

Recent Herald articles about the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) raise significant concerns about the agency’s operation. Unfortunately, they paint an incomplete picture.

 

Six years ago, DJJ embarked on an effort to strategically transform the way it serves at-risk and delinquent youth. This has been a daunting task filled with challenges, but led by a committed group of policymakers and practitioners, the agency has demonstrated great successes along the way.

 

 

DJJ’s path has not been perfect, but what I know from firsthand contact with that system is that its efforts have been earnest and significant. And while there have been horrible incidents of misconduct by staff, each has been met with an appropriate response by DJJ to address the behavior and ensure that it does not recur. At the same time, DJJ’s leadership has not wavered in its commitment to improve the overall system and how it serves youth, including the prevention of delinquent behavior.

 

 

Indeed, now is the time for Florida’s leadership to build on DJJ's successes and further improve the system by investing in high quality staff, as well as smaller residential placements that are closer to where youth live and can successfully transition back into their communities.

 

 

DJJ is setting the standard for system reform, including its work around screening and assessment, the use of structured decision-making tools, and data analysis which is positively influencing practice across the country. Indeed, tens of thousands of youth are being well served by the Department of each year.

 

Is DJJ perfect in its work? No, but it is far better than the Herald’s reporting reflects.

 

 

SHAY BILCHIK IS RESEARCH PROFESSOR/CENTER DIRECTOR AT THE CENTER FOR JUVENILE JUSTICE REFORM AT GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY’S MCCOURT SCHOOL OF PUBLIC POLICY. HE SERVED FORMERLY AS AN ASSISTANT STATE ATTORNEY IN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY; AND ADMINISTRATOR OF THE OFFICE OF JUVENILE JUSTICE AND DELINQUENCY PREVENTION IN THE U. S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE.

 

 

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Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Announces Office of Youth and Family Advocacy

Oct 19, 2017

Today, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) announced its plan to establish an Office of Youth and Family Advocacy within the Office of the DJJ Secretary.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                      Contact: DJJ Communications Office October 19, 2017                                                                                                          (850) 717-2710

                                                                                                        heather.digiacomo@djj.state.fl.us

Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Announces

Office of Youth and Family Advocacy

 

Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) announced its plan to establish an Office of Youth and Family Advocacy within the Office of the DJJ Secretary.

The Office will serve as a firsthand resource working directly with youth and families to foster communication and amplify their voice in the ongoing improvement of the juvenile justice system. Youth and families will have an additional avenue to raise concerns and engage with the Department to ensure youth and family needs are addressed. This Office will help enhance robust improvement measures at DJJ and give youth and their families another layer of accountability.

“The Department is committed to the well-being and safety of youth and engaging with families to ensure we are meeting their needs,” said Secretary Christina K. Daly. “The Office of Youth and Family Advocacy will share our vision that all Florida’s children live in safe and nurturing communities that provide for their needs, recognize their strengths and support their success.”   

DJJ continues to evaluate and identify new ways to build on the tremendous progress made with our aggressive and innovative reforms over the past six years. As part of system-wide reform, evidence-based services are provided throughout the delinquency continuum, with research-based services matched to youths’ assessed risks and needs.  The transformation of our juvenile justice system in recent years is producing results:

  • Florida has the lowest juvenile arrest rate in more than 40 years.
  • DJJ has reduced the use of residential commitment for low-moderate risk youth by 60 percent.
  • DJJ has the lowest recidivism for youth on probation that the agency has ever seen.

Over the next several weeks, the Department will begin setting the vision of this newly-created office including identifying the necessary resources to ensure effectiveness. More information will be released in the coming weeks.  

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Setting the Record Straight Miami Herald Omits Facts Ignores Reforms in Series Targeting DJJ

Oct 10, 2017

Today, the Miami Herald published a series of stories about the juvenile justice system in Florida that blatantly neglects to recognize DJJs years of aggressive, innovative reform.

Contact: DJJ Office of Communications

(850) 717-2710

news@djj.state.fl.us

Setting the Record Straight:

 

Miami Herald Omits Facts, Ignores Reforms in Series Targeting DJJ

 

Today, the Miami Herald published a series of stories about the juvenile justice system in Florida that blatantly neglects to recognize DJJ’s years of aggressive, innovative reform efforts and nationally recognized success serving Florida’s youth and communities.

 

 

Secretary Christina K. Daly said, “The stories published by the Miami Herald today do not accurately define the juvenile justice system in Florida or the many partners who are committed to serving youth and their families. Florida’s juvenile justice system is made up of stakeholders, service providers, and most importantly, individuals who care deeply about children and their success. Our agency works each day to continuously improve, and over the past six years, we have implemented aggressive, innovative reforms to build a better system for the thousands of youth who need the guidance our staff and services provide. 

 

 

“DJJ has not, does not and will not ever tolerate or condone mistreatment of children in our care. Staff who are not well intentioned to help transform the lives of our children have no place within this agency. Anyone who is found to have encouraged, enticed, or ordered youth to engage in fights or assault other youth is, and will be, held accountable to the full extent of the law, including criminal prosecution. We consistently work to identify, investigate and hold fully accountable any staff member who does not meet our high standards – both within DJJ facilities and with our contracted providers.

 

 

“Florida is proud to be recognized as a national leader for juvenile justice and to ensure the Department can continue to support high-quality officer recruitment and retention, Governor Rick Scott recently announced a proposed 10 percent pay increase for juvenile detention and probation officers. DJJ will continue to tirelessly work to provide safe and effective services for the youth and families that rely on our agency.”

 

 

First and foremost, the Miami Herald fails to recognize that the transformation of our juvenile justice system in recent years is producing results:

 

  • Florida has the lowest juvenile arrest rate in more than 40 years.
  • DJJ has reduced the use of residential commitment for low-moderate risk youth by 60 percent.
  • DJJ has the lowest recidivism for youth on probation that the agency has ever seen.

 

While DJJ worked for two years in a collaborative and transparent relationship with the Miami Herald on these stories, much of the information provided by the agency was left out, mischaracterized or dismissed without reason.

 

 

DJJ THOROUGHLY INVESTIGATES ANY ALLEGATIONS AGAINST STAFF

 

 

Regardless of whether in state-run detention facilities or privately contracted residential commitment programs, any allegation made regarding the care and safety of youth is thoroughly investigated by the Department to ensure youth are safe and staff are meeting our high standards of care.

 

 

Following the death of Elord Revolte, the Department along with the Public Corruption Unit of the Miami Dade State Attorney’s Office completed extensive investigations into the allegations against staff. Neither of these investigations proved these allegations to be true.

 

 

Anyone who is found to have encouraged, enticed, or ordered youth to engage in fights or assault other youth is, and will be, held accountable to the full extent of the law, including criminal prosecution. It is false and misleading to insinuate that the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice does not take the safety of our youth seriously.

 

 

DJJ has never, and will never, tolerate the outsourcing of discipline by staff to youth. It is the expectation that all staff, contracted or otherwise, treat youth with the respect and dignity they deserve. The Department also reports all allegations of abuse and neglect to the Florida Abuse Hotline to be investigated by the Florida Department of Children and Families, and in many cases, law enforcement also investigates incidents of abuse and neglect in detention facilities and residential commitment programs. All staff in both juvenile detention facilities and residential commitment programs have unrestricted access for reporting incidents, without supervisor approval, to the Florida Abuse Hotline and the DJJ Central Communications Center. 

 

 

DJJ evaluates and replaces cameras on an on-going basis as we rely on the critical information provided by security cameras when investigating incidents at our centers and ensuring the safety of the youth placed in our custody.

 

 

In addition to the safeguards provided by incident reporting, security cameras and exhaustive investigations, the Department employs a comprehensive oversight and monitoring process. Youth and staff interviews are conducted as a part of the oversight process as well as review of video, incident reporting and trends related to the use of physical intervention. 

 

 

For more information, click HERE. (pages 1, 2, 3, and 4)

 

 

DJJ MAINTAINS HIGH STANDARDS FOR HIRING PRACTICES

 

 

DJJ takes seriously our obligation to maintain the confidence and trust of the public and ensure we are hiring the most qualified and best-suited applicants to work with Florida’s youth and families.  All direct care staff are required to undergo and pass a level 2 criminal history record check, which outlines the more than 50 disqualifying offenses, in addition to drug screening and a comprehensive interview and reference check process in accordance to Florida law.

 

 

The Department also requires our contracted providers to ensure their staff are meeting our high standards, and we have worked collaboratively with them to improve hiring practices through a statewide initiative.

 

 

Recently, the Department further strengthened our reference check process for individuals with prior state employment experience to ensure a comprehensive and thorough review of a prospective employee’s previous performance and employment as well as ensure staff meet the high expectations of this Department. This is just one of the many reforms implemented over the past six years as we continue to identify new ways to improve our agency.

 

 

Additionally, Governor Rick Scott recently announced that he will propose a 10 percent pay raise for juvenile detention and juvenile probation officers in his 2018-2019 recommended budget to support high-quality officer recruitment and retention to further improve the life changing work in the juvenile justice system.

 

 

For more information, click HERE. (page 5)

 

 

 

DJJ LEADS THE NATION IN INNOVATIVE REFORMS

 

 

Florida embraced a more rehabilitative approach beginning more than six years ago when DJJ embarked on aggressive reform efforts. A major portion of these reforms have been focused on early interventions and prevention as well as community-based interventions, which provide the best outcomes for our youth.

 

 

It is entirely inaccurate to say that Florida is falling behind other states in rehabilitative juvenile justice reform. In fact, just last month, Florida was recognized by PEW Charitable Trusts for being a national leader in evidence-based programing that has helped to identify and enact programs that lower recidivism rates.

 

 

 

DJJ has the lowest recidivism for youth on probation that the agency has ever seen and the agency is fully committed to further building on reform efforts to continue reducing juvenile delinquency, increasing public safety, and providing the services at-risk youth and their families need to transition youth back into their communities and guide them towards successful adulthood.

 

 

For more information, click HERE. (page 6) 

 

 



In Case You Missed It The PEW Charitable Trusts States Turning to Evidence-Based Policymaking

Oct 09, 2017

The PEW Charitable Trusts recently released a study and article highlighting Floridas juvenile justice system as a national leader in how evidence-based policymaking is helping Floridas children and youth.

In Case You Missed It….

 

The PEW Charitable Trusts: States Turning to Evidence-Based Policymaking to Improve Outcomes for Children and Youth  

 

 

ICYMI – The PEW Charitable Trusts recently released a study and article highlighting Florida’s juvenile justice system as a national leader in how evidence-based policymaking is helping Florida’s children and youth. See below for a statement from DJJ Secretary Christina K. Daly and more information on the report.

 

 

“Florida is proud to have a juvenile justice system that serves as a national model for how evidence-based programing can best serve youth and families. Successful youth outcomes and public safety are at the heart of what DJJ does every day, and over the past six years, we have implemented aggressive reforms to help meet these goals. We will continue to champion data and evidence-based programming to ensure we continue to effectively and efficiently meet the needs of the youth in our care and the surrounding communities. ”-DJJ Secretary Christina K. Daly

 

 

 

States Turning to Evidence-Based Policymaking to Improve Outcomes for Children and Youth

 

PEW Charitable Trusts

 

September 22, 2017

 

 

 

“Policymakers want to improve outcomes for children and youth but often struggle with how best to allocate limited resources. In recent years, many have turned to evidence-based policymaking—the systematic use of high-quality research in decision-making—to help address this challenge.”

… 

 

But, two states—Florida in juvenile justice and Ohio in child welfare—demonstrate how evidence-based policymaking can help lawmakers make better investments in programs targeting children and youth.”

 

… 

 

“With a mandate to divert youth from the juvenile justice system, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, or DJJ, has for several years championed an evidence-based policymaking approach to improve outcomes for this population. For instance, in 2011, participation in the Juvenile Justice Improvement Project—an initiative to improve youth outcomes—spurred the department to use the nationally recognized Standardized Program Evaluation Protocol to identify how well the state’s juvenile justice programs adhere to key principles of evidence-based interventions. The department also created a supplementary model that compares programs based on how effective they are in reducing recidivism relative to their operating costs. These efforts enabled program providers to identify which programs lower recidivism rates while increasing the return on investment for taxpayers.”

 

 

 

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GOV SCOTT PROPOSING 10 PERCENT PAY RAISE FOR JUVENILE DETENTION AND PROBATION OFFICERS

Oct 02, 2017

Today Governor Rick Scott announced that he will propose a 10 percent pay raise for juvenile detention and juvenile probation officers in his 2018-2019 recommended budget.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 29, 2017

CONTACT: GOVERNOR’S PRESS OFFICE

(850) 717-9282
media@eog.myflorida.com

 

 

GOV. SCOTT PROPOSING 10% PAY RAISE FOR JUVENILE DETENTION AND PROBATION OFFICERS

 

  

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that he will propose a 10 percent pay raise for juvenile detention and juvenile probation officers in his 2018-2019 recommended budget. The Governor will recommend $8 million in pay raises to support officer recruitment and retention and to reward these officers for their life changing work in the juvenile justice system. The State of Florida has more than 2,000 juvenile detention and juvenile probation officers who work around the clock to protect Florida’s at-risk youth and keep families and communities safe. 

 

Governor Scott said, “Over the past six and a half years, we have taken aggressive steps to reform Florida’s juvenile justice system. Today, I’m proud to announce that as part of my upcoming recommended budget, I will be proposing an $8 million investment for the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice to use as a 10 percent pay raise for the recruitment and retention of detention and probation officers. 

 

“Florida’s juvenile detention and probation officers have the important responsibility of working with youth in DJJ care, but they also have the unique opportunity to help change lives and redirect our youth to a successful path. I look forward to working with the Legislature during the upcoming session to pass this 10 percent pay raise, which will ensure DJJ can hire highly qualified and dedicated detention and probation officers to help our youth and keep our communities safe for years to come.” 

 

Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Christina K. Daly said, “I am extremely proud of the thousands of staff who come to work every day to change the lives of the youth and families we serve and the dedication they put forth in ensuring our communities are safer places to live, work and play. Governor Scott’s commitment to making Florida a leader in juvenile justice began on the first day of his administration and continues today, and I cannot thank him enough for his recognition of the importance of dedicating resources for the recruitment and retention of committed, high-quality employees.”  

 

Today’s proposal builds on the Governor’s proposed $30 million investment in pay raises for our state law enforcement agencies to use for officer recruitment and retention, and the pay raises for state law enforcement and correctional officers included in the current year’s budget. The Governor’s entire 2018-2019 recommended budget will be released prior to the beginning of the upcoming legislative session. 

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GOV. SCOTT PROPOSING 10% PAY RAISE FOR JUVENILE DETENTION AND PROBATION OFFICERS

 

  

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that he will propose a 10 percent pay raise for juvenile detention and juvenile probation officers in his 2018-2019 recommended budget. The Governor will recommend $8 million in pay raises to support officer recruitment and retention and to reward these officers for their life changing work in the juvenile justice system. The State of Florida has more than 2,000 juvenile detention and juvenile probation officers who work around the clock to protect Florida’s at-risk youth and keep families and communities safe.

 

 

 

Governor Scott said, “Over the past six and a half years, we have taken aggressive steps to reform Florida’s juvenile justice system. Today, I’m proud to announce that as part of my upcoming recommended budget, I will be proposing an $8 million investment for the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice to use as a 10 percent pay raise for the recruitment and retention of detention and probation officers.

 

 

 

“Florida’s juvenile detention and probation officers have the important responsibility of working with youth in DJJ care, but they also have the unique opportunity to help change lives and redirect our youth to a successful path. I look forward to working with the Legislature during the upcoming session to pass this 10 percent pay raise, which will ensure DJJ can hire highly qualified and dedicated detention and probation officers to help our youth and keep our communities safe for years to come.”

 

 

 

Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Christina K. Daly said, “I am extremely proud of the thousands of staff who come to work every day to change the lives of the youth and families we serve and the dedication they put forth in ensuring our communities are safer places to live, work and play. Governor Scott’s commitment to making Florida a leader in juvenile justice began on the first day of his administration and continues today, and I cannot thank him enough for his recognition of the importance of dedicating resources for the recruitment and retention of committed, high-quality employees.” 

 

 

 

Today’s proposal builds on the Governor’s proposed $30 million investment in pay raises for our state law enforcement agencies to use for officer recruitment and retention, and the pay raises for state law enforcement and correctional officers included in the current year’s budget. The Governor’s entire 2018-2019 recommended budget will be released prior to the beginning of the upcoming legislative session. 

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 29, 2017

CONTACT: GOVERNOR’S PRESS OFFICE

(850) 717-9282
media@eog.myflorida.com



Gov. Scott Directs State Offices to be Closed Friday in Preparation for Hurricane Irma

Sep 06, 2017

Today, Governor Rick Scott directed state offices to be closed in all 67 Florida counties this Friday in preparation for Hurricane Irma.

Gov. Scott Directs State Offices to be Closed Friday in Preparation for Hurricane Irma

Encourages State Employees to Volunteer in Support of Emergency Shelters

 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott directed state offices to be closed in all 67 Florida counties this Friday in preparation for Hurricane Irma. Prior to Friday’s statewide closures, state office closures will follow the direction of county officials and will be announced as they are determined. The Governor also issued a call to state employees across Florida encouraging them to volunteer in support of the state’s emergency shelter mobilization efforts.


Governor Scott said, “Our state workforce is filled with dedicated individuals who go above and beyond every day in service to the families who call Florida home. Ensuring the safety of these hardworking individuals and their families is a top priority, and I am directing all state offices to be closed this Friday so our state employees can fully focus on preparing for this storm and keeping their families safe. I am also asking these talented individuals to consider donating their time and effort to become a certified American Red Cross Disaster Services volunteer to help Floridians in need. 

“I have directed all state executive agencies to authorize the deployment of any American Red Cross certified employees willing to volunteer to help in or operate shelters in response to this unprecedented storm. Agency leaders have also been authorized to grant employee volunteers training time in order to become certified if they are not already. We must do all we can to prepare our families and communities for any potential impact from this major weather event, and I appreciate the many volunteers who are gearing up to help our state during this critical time.” 

In partnership with the American Red Cross, salaried, non-essential state employees can receive expedited volunteer certifications for disaster services so that they may assist in or operate shelters in response to Hurricane Irma impacts and preparation. Florida law allows Governor Scott to grant full-time, salaried state employees up to 15 days of administrative leave for emergency volunteer efforts through the American Red Cross. All Floridians can register for American Red Cross certifications at VolunteerFlorida.org.


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Gov. Scott Directs State Offices to be Closed Friday in Preparation for Hurricane Irma

Encourages State Employees to Volunteer in Support of Emergency Shelters

 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott directed state offices to be closed in all 67 Florida counties this Friday in preparation for Hurricane Irma. Prior to Friday’s statewide closures, state office closures will follow the direction of county officials and will be announced as they are determined. The Governor also issued a call to state employees across Florida encouraging them to volunteer in support of the state’s emergency shelter mobilization efforts.

Governor Scott said, “Our state workforce is filled with dedicated individuals who go above and beyond every day in service to the families who call Florida home. Ensuring the safety of these hardworking individuals and their families is a top priority, and I am directing all state offices to be closed this Friday so our state employees can fully focus on preparing for this storm and keeping their families safe. I am also asking these talented individuals to consider donating their time and effort to become a certified American Red Cross Disaster Services volunteer to help Floridians in need.

 

“I have directed all state executive agencies to authorize the deployment of any American Red Cross certified employees willing to volunteer to help in or operate shelters in response to this unprecedented storm. Agency leaders have also been authorized to grant employee volunteers training time in order to become certified if they are not already. We must do all we can to prepare our families and communities for any potential impact from this major weather event, and I appreciate the many volunteers who are gearing up to help our state during this critical time.”

 

In partnership with the American Red Cross, salaried, non-essential state employees can receive expedited volunteer certifications for disaster services so that they may assist in or operate shelters in response to Hurricane Irma impacts and preparation. Florida law allows Governor Scott to grant full-time, salaried state employees up to 15 days of administrative leave for emergency volunteer efforts through the American Red Cross. All Floridians can register for American Red Cross certifications at VolunteerFlorida.org.

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Governor Rick Scott’s “Fighting for Florida’s Future” Budget Fights to Support At-Risk Youth and Families

Apr 19, 2017

Today, Governor Rick Scott announced his “Fighting for Florida’s Future” Budget, which invests an additional $16 million into Florida’s juvenile justice system for a total of $571 million.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 31, 2017

 

Heather DiGiacomo

heather.digiacomo@djj.state.fl.us

(850) 921-5900

 

Governor Rick Scott’s “Fighting for Florida’s Future” Budget Fights to Support At-Risk Youth and Families

 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –Today, Governor Rick Scott announced his “Fighting for Florida’s Future” Budget, which invests an additional $16 million into Florida’s juvenile justice system for a total of $571 million. This funding will support the continuation of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice’s (DJJ) reform efforts and its core mission of reducing juvenile delinquency, increasing public safety, and providing the services at-risk youth and their families need in the coming years to transition youth back into their communities and guide them towards successful adulthood.

 

Governor Scott said, “Florida has taken tremendous steps forward in reducing juvenile delinquency with juvenile arrests dropping to the lowest levels in more than forty years. We will continue to invest in effective programs and services that will not only help vulnerable youth in our state get the opportunities they need to succeed, but also ensure that Florida remains a safe state for families and visitors to enjoy for years to come.”

 

“Governor Scott’s ‘Fighting for Florida’s Future’ Budget demonstrates Florida’s commitment to not only having the most comprehensive juvenile justice system in the country but to also having the best system as well” said DJJ Secretary Christina Daly. “By investing in the entirety of our system, from prevention all the way to aftercare, Governor Scott’s recommendations will solidify for now and the future both the strength and quality of the services provided to Florida’s children and their families.”

 

 

Highlights from Governor Scott’s “Fighting for Florida’s Future” Budget include:

 

$10.5 million to increase evidence-based interventions and services in residential commitment contracts as well as ensure capacity for youth adjudicated to non-secure and secure residential commitment programs.

 

$2.6 million to add workforce education and job placement services at existing day treatment and residential programs. This funding will provide workforce education and job placement for 500 youth in various programs in order to help them find employment, which makes them less likely to reoffend.

 

$4.7 million to expand evidence-based prevention programs. Effective prevention programs have been a critical component in reducing Florida’s juvenile arrest rate. This funding will increase public safety by providing prevention programming to additional youth.

 

$10 million to provide the necessary repairs and maintenance of detention, probation, and residential facilities. This funding will support security improvement and life safety projects, electrical upgrades, and ensure proper compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

 

 

What they are saying…

Stacy Gromatski, President and CEO of the Florida Network of Youth and Family Services, said, “The Florida Network would like to thank Governor Scott for continuing to recognize the importance of investing in prevention services in our state. Having the ability to reach younger children, before they come into contact with the juvenile justice system, ensures not only a brighter future for them but strong families and communities overall.”

 

Mary Marx, President and CEO of the Pace Center for Girls, said, “On behalf of vulnerable girls in our state, we appreciate Governor Scott’s investment in prevention services in Florida. Under his leadership, more girls and young woman have access to education, counseling, and trauma informed services so that they can reach their full potential and successfully transition to adulthood.”

 

Cathy Craig-Myers, Executive Director of the Florida Juvenile Justice Association, said, “Governor Scott has been steadfast in his commitment to our state’s juvenile justice reform work and the ‘Fighting for Florida’s Future’ Budget is a reflection of that unwavering commitment. From the implementation of DJJ’s Roadmap to System Excellence several years ago to today, Florida has and will continue in the future to serve as a model juvenile justice system for the rest of the country.”

 

To view the complete list of Governor Scott’s budget recommendations, visit www.fightingforfloridasfuturebudget.com.

 

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Governor Scott: Lowest Juvenile Arrests in More Than 40 Years

Nov 14, 2016

Governor Rick Scott announced today that the number of juvenile arrests continued to decline in 2015-2016 according to the latest delinquency report released by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 14, 2016

CONTACT: GOVERNOR’S PRESS OFFICE

(850) 717-9282
media@eog.myflorida.com

 

Gov. Scott: Lowest Juvenile Arrests in More Than 40 Years

 

Florida Continues to be a National Leader in Juvenile Justice

 

 

 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Governor Rick Scott announced today that the number of juvenile arrests continued to decline in 2015-2016 according to the latest delinquency report released by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). Statewide, juvenile arrests dropped another 7 percent in the last fiscal year, which resulted in a six-year decline of 37 percent. This year’s decrease is keeping in line with the drop in delinquency Florida has had each year, resulting in the lowest number of juvenile arrests in more than forty years. 

 

 

 

Governor Scott said, “The continued decline in juvenile arrests in Florida is a reflection of our commitment to keeping our communities safe and having the best juvenile justice system in the country. We will continue to support effective programs and services by making important investments in DJJ so Florida remains a safe state for all families and visitors.”

 

 

 

The current report, covering a five-year period, released by DJJ also shows a decrease in certain felony offenses, including a 4 percent decrease in aggravated/assault battery, an 8 percent decrease in weapon/firearm arrests, and a 12 percent decrease in felony drug arrests. Overall misdemeanor offenses decreased by 15 percent last year with an overall decline of 40 percent in the past five years.

 

 

 

Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Christina Daly said, “By keeping our focus on front end prevention and diversion services, DJJ is working hard to provide the right level of treatment for Florida’s youth while always placing a strong emphasis on holding them accountable and ensuring public safety. DJJ will continue to work side by side with our law enforcement partners and community stakeholders to keep kids out of the juvenile justice system or from going deeper into the system all together.”

 

 

 

The five counties with the largest populations in Florida continue to show decreases in juvenile arrests over the last fiscal year. The county with the largest drop was Miami-Dade County with a 12 percent decrease, followed by Broward County with an 8 percent reduction, Orange County with a 7 percent decrease, Palm Beach County with a 6 percent decrease, and Hillsborough County with a 2 percent decline in juvenile arrests.

 

 

 

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Statement from Secretary Christina Daly on the Death of a

Oct 19, 2016

At approximately 1245 a.m., the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), was notified by our contracted provider, Youth Opportunity Investments, of the death of a youth committed to the Broward Youth Treatment Center.

CONTACT:

 

Heather DiGiacomo

 

heather.digiacomo@djj.state.fl.us

 

(850) 717-2710

 

At approximately 12:45 a.m., the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), was notified by our contracted provider, Youth Opportunity Investments, of the death of a youth committed to the Broward Youth Treatment Center.

 

On behalf of DJJ, I first wish to convey our heartfelt condolences to the family.  His unexpected and untimely death has been devastating to not only them, but to the youth and staff at the program as well as all of us at DJJ.

 

The Department will be working collaboratively with local law enforcement to assist in their investigation of the circumstances surrounding this untimely death. The Department also immediately had staff on site to begin an intensive review of all records and actions by contracted personnel to ensure that all measures were taken. It appears at this time, following a preliminary review, that staff were performing routine checks as required to monitor the youth. The DJJ Inspector General will conduct a comprehensive and thorough investigation, which once completed will be made available to the public. The medical examiner will determine the cause of death.

 

At the present time, our focus is on the youth and staff at Broward Youth Treatment Center and ensuring they have the needed supports in place to deal with the overwhelming grief and shock of this loss.

 

The Department will release additional information as it becomes available.

 

---Christina K. Daly, Secretary     

 



Governor Rick Scott: Florida's Crime Rate at a 45 Year Low

Jun 03, 2016

In 2015, there were 10,773 fewer crimes than in 2014, which represents a 1.6 percent decrease.

For Immediate Release 

June 3, 2016

Contact: media@eog.myflorida.com

(850) 717-9282

 Governor Rick Scott: Florida’s Crime Rate at a 45-Year Low

~ Also Highlights More Than $4.9 billion in Public Safety Measures ~

 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that Florida’s crime is now at a 45-year low. In 2015, there were 10,773 fewer crimes than in 2014, which represents a 1.6 percent decrease. The crime rate has dropped by 3.1 percent since 2014. This year, Governor Scott invested more than $4.9 billion in public safety measures in the Florida First budget. This investment included improvements to the Florida Department of Corrections and increasing staff across Florida’s public safety system. 

Governor Rick Scott said, “Florida’s crime rate continues to drop thanks to the hard work and dedication of our brave law enforcement officers. We are committed to building safer communities and want Florida to be the safest and best place in the nation to live, work and raise a family. By investing more than $4.9 billion in public safety measures across our state, we want to ensure that our law enforcement and safety agencies are equipped with the tools they need to keep Florida families safe.” 

Attorney General Pam Bondi said, “The crime rate in Florida is the lowest it has been in 45 years and that is due to the great work of our state law enforcement officers who risk their lives every day protecting Floridians and our visitors. I cannot express the extent of my gratitude to each and every law enforcement officer in our state for their selfless commitment to the safety of Floridians and our great prosecutors who work to keep the worst of the worst behind bars where they below.” 

FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen said, “I am proud to join Governor Scott in recognizing Florida’s dropping crime rate. Our dedicated law enforcement officers work every day to protect Florida families and we will continue to do all we can to keep Florida safe.” 

The complete 2015 Annual Uniform Crime Report, including county-by-county breakdowns, can be found on FDLE’s website HERE. To view the Florida First budget, click HERE

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DJJ Awards Juvenile Justice Teacher of the Year

Apr 26, 2016

Orlando, Fla. - The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) honored Linda Baker with the 2014-2015 Juvenile Justice Teacher of the Year Award during a ceremony at the 2016 Adolescent Conference.

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 21, 2016             

                                                       

 

CONTACT: Heather DiGiacomo

heather.digiacomo@djj.state.fl.us

(850) 717-2710

 

 

DJJ Awards Juvenile Justice Teacher of the Year

 

Orlando, Fla. - The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) honored Linda Baker with the 2014-2015 Juvenile Justice Teacher of the Year Award during a ceremony at the 2016 Adolescent Conference.  

Ms. Baker is a teacher with the Washington County School Program at the Okeechobee Youth Development Center (OYDC) where for the past three years she has taught an innovative reading class that incorporates technology into her curriculum, fostering a love for reading in her students.   

“Ms. Baker embraces the world of technology and its application in her classroom creates a fun and exciting environment for her students,” said DJJ Secretary Christina K. Daly who presented Ms. Baker with the Teacher of the Year Award. “This inventive approach allows her to engage with her students in a creative and new way, while ensuring that her students are learning and achieving academic success.”

Ms. Baker has introduced e-readers for poetry analysis and for decoding reading strategies. She incorporates tablets and laptops for her daily rotation of reading groups and allows her students to use computers to complete their homework assignments and book reports. 

Baker said, “I am keenly aware that today’s millennial students use technology as a staple in their everyday lives. The absence of fusing technology with education will limit a student’s success in the high-tech world. By turning technology into an integral part of my classroom instruction, I have taken an application of leisure and transformed it into a mode of academic enrichment.” 

DJJ partnered with the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Juvenile Justice Foundation to select the finalists for the Juvenile Justice Teacher of the Year Award.  Ms. Baker was chosen as one of three finalists out of many juvenile justice educators throughout the state of Florida.  Each finalist received a medal and monetary award. 

The award was presented at the 21st annual Adolescent Conference Building Bridges: Uniting for Youth, Families and Communities hosted by the Florida Juvenile Justice Association (FJJA).

 

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Governor Scott Signs Legislation for Juvenile Detention Costs

Mar 29, 2016

Today, Governor Rick Scott signed into law Senate Bill 1322 which revises the cost-sharing relationship between the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) and Florida’s counties for juvenile detention costs. This legislations ends more than a decade of legal actions disputing the cost-sharing split.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 29, 2016


Contact: Heather DiGiacomo

(850) 717-2710

heather.digiacomo@djj.state.fl.us

 

Governor Scott Signs Legislation for Juvenile Detention Costs

Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott signed into law Senate Bill 1322 which revises the cost-sharing relationship between the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) and Florida’s counties for juvenile detention costs. This legislations ends more than a decade of legal actions disputing the cost-sharing split.

Governor Rick Scott said, “I would like to thank Secretary Christina Daly, Senator Jack Latvala, Representative Chris Latvala, and Florida Association of Counties Legislative Director Lisa Hurley for their hard work on this important legislation. Florida’s juvenile arrest rate is at a more than 30-year low and our juvenile justice system leads the nation in prevention measures for our youth. I am proud to sign this legislation today.” 

Secretary Christina Daly said, “I want to thank Governor Scott for signing this significant legislation into law. I also appreciate the leadership of Senator Jack Latvala and Representative Chris Latvala for their work on the legislation as well as the collaborative efforts of Florida’s counties in seeking a solution to this long-standing dispute. I am thrilled that today represents a new beginning for the partnership between the Department and the counties in our focus on how we can best serve Florida’s children and their families.” 

FAC President and Vice Mayor of Broward County Barbara Sharief said, “It is great day for the citizens of Florida. Today we are pleased to have been able to work with the Department of Juvenile Justice to reach a compromise and have the Governor sign this important legislation into law.  By working together to end litigation both DJJ and counties can increase our focus on the critical services we provide to the benefit of Florida’s taxpayers.”

Beginning in Fiscal Year 2017-18, juvenile detention costs shall be split 50/50 based on actual expenditures and the percentage of detention days used for that county’s juveniles in the most recently completed 12-month period. The costs incurred by fiscally-constrained counties will be the responsibility of the state. The Act also requires all counties that have pending legal action to file a notice of dismissal. In addition, all counties are to execute a release and waiver of any existing or future claims arising from detention cost share prior to the current fiscal year.

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Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Ends All Contracts with Youth Services International

Mar 17, 2016

Today the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) announced it will begin immediately transitioning all contracts statewide for residential programs run by private provider Youth Services International

For Immediate Release

 

March 16, 2016

 

 

Contact: Amanda Fortuna

 

(850) 717-2711

 

amanda.fortuna@djj.state.fl.us

 

 

 

Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Ends All Contracts with Youth Services International

 

Tallahassee, Fla. - Today, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) announced it will begin immediately transitioning all contracts statewide for residential programs run by private provider Youth Services International (YSI), Inc. YSI holds contracts for the current year for seven programs throughout Florida.

 

DJJ Secretary Christina K. Daly said, “Our focus and priority is to ensure that youth in our care are safe and that effective treatments are being provided in rehabilitative and nurturing environments. We will work to ensure that each of the seven programs operated by YSI are transitioned to new providers smoothly and that our high standards of transparency and accountability are met every step of the way. We will also ensure there are no interruptions in services.  I appreciate the work of the Florida Attorney General’s Office resolving this case in the best interest of Florida and the children and families we serve.”    

 

For several months, DJJ worked in conjunction with the Florida Attorney General’s office in relation to a False Claims Act Complaint filed by former staff of Youth Services International. The lawsuit involved allegations that YSI failed to provide the necessary and appropriate services and falsified documents concerning contract terms. The lawsuit, recently resolved through mediation, requires YSI to relinquish its contracts with DJJ and reimburse the State for the financial losses.

 

Qui tam actions are brought under the Florida False Claims Act. The Act authorizes a private person, or relator, who claims to have knowledge of fraud involving state funds to bring a sealed case. The Attorney General’s Office then has the opportunity to investigate the allegations, gather additional information, and intervene in and proceed with the case if appropriate. The Legislature updated this important law in 2013 to provide the Attorney General with additional authority to protect taxpayers’ money.

 

YSI will continue to operate programs under contract until assignment, with DJJ’s approval, to other providers. Newly assigned providers are to be in place no later than August 31, 2016. There will be no reduction in services at any of the seven programs.

 

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Governor Scott Signs Legislation to Fight Human Trafficking

Mar 08, 2016

Today, Governor Rick Scott signed HB 545 into law which establishes harsher penalties for individuals who commit human trafficking and protects victimized children from being convicted for criminal charges.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott signed HB 545 into law which establishes harsher penalties for individuals who commit human trafficking and protects victimized children from being convicted for criminal charges. 

Governor Scott said, “I am proud to sign this important legislation into law today so we can better protect victims of human trafficking in Florida and ensure perpetrators are brought to justice. While we have made tremendous progress in Florida to fight the evil of human trafficking, even one victim of this unfathomable crime is too many. I appreciate the hard work of Attorney General Pam Bondi and the Florida Legislature for their efforts to combat human trafficking in Florida, and we will continue to do all we can to end human trafficking and care for victims.” 

DJJ Secretary Christina Daly said, “Many don’t realize that human trafficking exists right here in our own state and communities. This legislation moves us one step closer to ending human trafficking in Florida by implementing harsher punishments for human traffickers and ensuring that our state’s most vulnerable are protected from further exploitation. I’m thankful to Governor Scott for signing HB 545 into law today to keep our children and families safe.” 

DCF Secretary Mike Carroll said, “This bill ensures that victims of human trafficking aren’t unfairly punished for their abuse but rescued and restored, and also provides harsher penalties for perpetrators to make sure they are fully punished for this crime. Together, we can end this terrible crime from happening in Florida and help rescue and restore individuals trapped in exploitation.” 

To see a copy of the transmittal letter, click HERE

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For Immediate Release
March 8, 2016

Contact: media@eog.myflorida.com

(850) 717-9282



Governor Scott Proclaimed January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month in Florida

Jan 25, 2016

This month, Governor Rick Scott issued the attached proclamation recognizing January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Governor Rick Scott recommended a $1.7 million increase in this year’s Florida First budget to expand services for adolescent victims of human trafficking.

For Immediate Release
January 22, 2016

Contact: media@eog.myflorida.com

(850) 717-9282

Governor Scott Proclaimed January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month in Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – This month, Governor Rick Scott issued the attached proclamation recognizing January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Governor Rick Scott recommended a $1.7 million increase in this year’s Florida First budget to expand services for adolescent victims of human trafficking. Governor Scott also signed four bills into law that recently went into effect that raise awareness of the signs of human trafficking, protect survivors from further exploitation, and establish harsher punishment against perpetrators. 

Governor Rick Scott said, “We must keep working to identify instances of human trafficking in Florida and help rescue victims. It is unfathomable that this evil occurs in our state, but by expanding services and passing important legislation this year, we are helping to save and heal the lives of our state’s most vulnerable.” 

DCF Secretary Mike Carroll said, “Since the department began taking reports of human trafficking in 2009, we have continued to see a rise in the number of reports throughout the state. Identifying victims is the first step in helping match children with the services they need. Every citizen should learn to recognize and report the signs of human trafficking to help end this horrific abuse.” 

The Department of Children and Families and the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice also developed and recently launched a human trafficking screening tool to assist trained staff in the process of identifying and assessing child victims of human trafficking. During federal fiscal year 2014-2015, more than 1,200 reports of human trafficking were reported in Florida through the increased use of the Florida Abuse Hotline to help identify possible instances of human trafficking. 

DJJ Secretary Christina Daly said, “We proudly stand with the Department of Children and Families to help eliminate human trafficking in Florida. By working together with our partners at the statewide and local level, the victims of this egregious crime can be identified, receive the necessary services to address their trauma, and start on the path towards healing.”  

Human Trafficking Awareness Month is recognized every January. More information on how to recognize the signs of human trafficking, as well as how to report it, visit: www.myflfamilies.com/service-programs/human-trafficking

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Spotlight on Staff: Cina Wilson Johnson

Jan 04, 2016

Please join us in welcoming our new Director (Click to read more.)

CINA WILSON JOHNSON NAMED NEW SD&T DIRECTOR

Cina Wilson-Johnson has been named new Director of DJJ’s Office Staff Development and Training. 

Cina has served as Deputy Director since 2011 and has more than 28 years of experience in staff training and criminal justice positions.

She has both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Criminal Justice and brings a wealth of knowledge to the job. Cina also earned her Certified Public Manager certificate in 2002.  

 In making this announcement, Fred Schuknecht, DJJ Chief of Staff, added that Staff Development is a critical component of the Department’s Roadmap to System Excellence.

“I am confident Cina can lead our effort to both provide the best training opportunities for staff and ensure staff have the tools necessary to be successful,” he said.

Please join us in wishing Cina all the best in her new position. 



Gov. Scott: Lowest Juvenile Arrests in More Than 30 Years

Dec 01, 2015

Governor Rick Scott announced today that the number of juvenile arrests continued their downward trend in 2014-2015 according to the latest delinquency report released by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).

For Immediate Release 
December 1, 2015 

Contact: media@eog.myflorida.com 
(850) 717-9282


Gov. Scott: Lowest Juvenile Arrests in More Than 30 Years

 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Governor Rick Scott announced today that the number of juvenile arrests continued their downward trend in 2014-2015 according to the latest delinquency report released by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).  Statewide, juvenile arrests dropped another 4 percent in the last fiscal year, which resulted in a five year decline of 32 percent- the lowest number of juvenile arrests since 1984. 

Governor Rick Scott said, “Florida is committed to ensuring our communities remain safe, and the ongoing decline in juvenile arrests shows that our focus on prevention programs is working. We will continue to make important investments in DJJ to make Florida’s juvenile justice system a national leader and ensure our children have the support they need.” 

Keeping in line with the declines, the report released by DJJ also shows a decrease in juvenile commitments to residential placement by 7 percent contributing to a 43 percent decline in the last five years. Overall misdemeanor offenses decreased by 8 percent, leading the drop in delinquency.   

Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Christina Daly said, “DJJ is committed to providing the right services for Florida’s youth while also keeping our focus on public safety. The statistics from the latest delinquency report show that the transformation of our juvenile justice system in recent years is producing results, and most importantly, producing better outcomes for the youth we serve.” 

The four most populated counties in Florida showed double-digit decreases in juvenile arrests over the last fiscal year, with Broward County leading the way with a 14 percent decrease. Hillsborough County dropped 11 percent, while Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties each saw a 10 percent reduction. 

DJJ’s multi-year reform initiative, which began three years ago with the implementation of the “Roadmap to System Excellence,” outlines the agency’s strategic plan to allocate its resources to the most effective programs, services, and treatments at the most impactful points along the juvenile justice continuum. Among the strategic measures, DJJ has worked to realign existing resources to community-based interventions as well as increase the availability of transitional services such as vocational programming, employment, education, family support, transitional housing, and transportation.

Florida has the nation’s largest, centrally organized juvenile justice agency, providing prevention, probation, detention (short-term secure housing) and residential services for at-risk and delinquent youth in every community across the state. Reform efforts including the implementation of DJJ’s Civil Citation Initiative, The Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), and the Juvenile Justice System Improvement Project have placed the department at the forefront of juvenile justice models and contributed greatly to the decrease in juvenile crime.  

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Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Awarded Public Organization of the Year Award

Sep 22, 2015

The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) has been selected as the 2015 recipient of the Public Organization of the Year Award by the Able Trust. DJJ, chosen for its support of the Able Trust’s mission to provide employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities, offers the High School High Tech (HSHT) Program in its residential programs.


Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Awarded Public Organization of the Year Award


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 18, 2015

CONTACT: 
Heather DiGiacomo
heather.digiacomo@djj.state.fl.us 
(850) 717-2710

Tallahassee, Fla.-The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) has been selected as the 2015 recipient of the Public Organization of the Year Award by the Able Trust.  DJJ, chosen for its support of the Able Trust’s mission to provide employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities, offers the High School High Tech (HSHT) Program in its residential programs.

“On behalf of DJJ, I would like to thank the Able Trust for recognizing our agency as Public Organization of the Year” said DJJ Secretary Christina Daly. “The Department strives every day to prepare youth to return to their communities with the tools they need to succeed and an integral component is preparing them to join Florida’s growing workforce. Programs like HTST ensure that all youth, no matter the circumstances, will be afforded opportunities to thrive and achieve great things.” 

The HSHT offers transitional services to developmentally disabled youth in two DJJ residential programs in order to prepare them for college and find careers in our technologically driven world.  Currently, this program is offered at the Escambia Boys Base and the Okaloosa Youth Development Center.

DJJ was honored as the 2015 Public Organization of the Year at the Able Trust’s 25th Anniversary Celebration on September 17th in Orlando. 

 

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DJJ Leadership Microlearning Pilot Program Launches

Jul 10, 2015

100 selected juvenile justice professionals statewide use microlearning to support and develop their leadership and management skills.

SD&T is excited to announce the launch of the Leadership Microlearning Pilot Program! The pilot program offers approximately 100 selected juvenile justice professionals statewide an opportunity to support and develop their leadership and management skills.

Leadership and management training has been identified as a top staff need. Research shows that investing in staff to develop and enhance job skills heightens employee engagement, which in turn results in better performance and staff retention.

Director Denny Clark offers thanks on behalf of SD&T to the following individuals for their strong support in presenting this pilot learning opportunity to juvenile justice staff:  Assistant Secretary for Detention Services Dixie Fosler, Interim Assistant Secretary for Probation and Community Intervention Paul Hatcher, Director of Program Accountability Amy Johnson, Bureau Chief of Human Resources Dodye Garye, FJJA Executive Director Cathy Craig-Myers, the DJJ Training Advisory Council, Minnora Bishop, Christopher Goodman, Maureen Honan, Morrison King, Faye Mack, Naomi Screen, Ann Schulte and Eugene Morris. For their assistance and teamwork in creating the pilot, kudos to DJJ’s Latrice Covington, Nikole Ellis, Kimi Johnson, Samadhi Jones, Kenny Reeves and Jennifer Sherlock, and to Grovo’s Matt Anderson and Hillary Manne.

Got a minute or so? Online microlearning is a cutting-edge approach that is ideally suited to the busy schedules of juvenile justice professionals. For the pilot, SD&T chose Grovo, a leader in microlearning. Grovo structures content as one- to four-minute videos. All that’s needed is a computer or smart device with internet access. Participants complete their lessons at the times that suit them best!

What do the participants get? The video-based microlearning tool can help build skills in a way that fits with a busy schedule. Pilot participants can view pre-loaded videos that focus on leadership and management skills, and are also invited to explore the site and click the videos that appeal to them. Grovo’s library has more than 5,000 video lessons! Freedom of choice helps SD&T understand staff learning preferences. Two certificates are also available.

PILOT COMPONENTS

Leadership and Management Videos

  • Skill-building videos, 1- to 4-minutes long
  • Quick questions follow each video to confirm understanding

Mandatory Weekly Surveys

  • Assess the suitability of microlearning juvenile justice professionals
  • Data will be used to determine usage preferences

Optional Coaching Support

  • Learner-driven conversation
  • Coach helps select videos that align with learners’ needs, and/or practice newly-learned skills
  • Available to all participants throughout the pilot
  • Supervisors are welcome to participate

Basic Leadership course content:

  1. Attention Management
  2. Building Consensus and Commitment
  3. Communication Fundamentals
  4. Communicating and Interacting with Others
  5. Developing Self and Others
  6. Leadership
  7. Leading and Managing Change
  8. Leveraging and Optimizing Performance
  9. Stress Management

SD&T’s Leadership Microlearning Pilot Program will run from July 10 through September 30, 2015. For more information, please email Kenny.Reeves@djj.state.fl.us



Agency Training Leaders Discuss Leadership Development

Jun 26, 2015

Attendees shared information about resources and lessons learned to advance a culture of continual learning among Florida’s state agencies

SD&T Director Denny Clark and other state agency training leaders discussed the topic of Leadership Development during their quarterly group meeting on June 25, 2015, at the Florida Department of Education's training center in Tallahassee. Approximately 20 participants shared information about resources and lessons learned in creating and administering a leadership program at their organizations.  

Denise Hunter, Manager of Talent and Training Development for the Florida Department of Children and Families, made a formal presentation to the group on how to create a workable leadership competency model that fits hand-in-glove with professional development and succession planning.

The quarterly meeting brings together leaders in talent development and training from Florida's state agencies and other organizations to discuss topics that advance a culture of continual learning among Florida’s state agencies.

The group discussion is a high point of these meetings. The forum allows participants to share resources and experiences with one another to improve staff learning and development services within their organizations.

Thanks to the participants for sharing their expertise and information, Denise Hunter for her insightful presentation, and to Kevin Kjellerup of the Florida Department of Education for hosting the event!

The next quarterly meeting is scheduled for September 24, 2015, and will be hosted at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement headquarters in Tallahassee. For more information, please contact SD&T’s Samadhi Jones, or Kimberly Kemp of the Florida Department of Management Services.

 

 

 



SD&T Learns from FJJA

Jun 26, 2015

FJJA Executive Director Cathy Craig-Myers thanked SD&T for its outstanding support during the 2015 Adolescent Conference and shared her hopes for forging an even stronger partnership

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 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 consideration.

 

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 residential providers with the responsibility for ensuring their staff is 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.