The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) continues to take all necessary precautions related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Florida. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in Florida, DJJ has coordinated a proactive and comprehensive response to keep all youth and staff safe within state-operated juvenile detention centers and residential commitment programs.
DJJ is committed to keeping its stakeholders, community partners and the general public informed on the number of positive COVID-19 cases in its state-operated juvenile detention centers and juvenile residential commitment programs. DJJ serves approximately 1,700 youth in 72 of these facilities statewide. These case numbers will be updated regularly on our website and this update will continue to be sent out every Tuesday.
Additional Information Regarding Facilities with Positive COVID-19 Cases
DJJ continues to work with local health departments and in the case of residential commitment programs, the private contracted providers, regarding the need to test additional youth and staff following the first report of a positive test. The local health department is made aware of each instance of a positive test result. Impacted DJJ facilities are coordinating efforts with local health department officials on issues related to isolation and care for youth who have tested positive and contact tracing to attempt to determine the source of the infection and who else might have been exposed. All employees as well as parents/guardians of youth are notified of positive cases. Increased cleaning and sanitization protocols will also continue at these facilities.Additional questions on the above individuals (age, gender, travel status) should be directed to the Florida Department of Health.
Information on testing
The county health departments and/or each facility’s designated health authority determine when youth should be tested for COVID-19 based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention testing criteria. Youth inside juvenile detention centers and residential commitment programs are continuously being monitored and screened for symptoms and if a youth shows symptoms, he or she is isolated from other youth and the facility’s designated health authority is contacted. Youth must show no symptoms and be cleared by the facility’s designated health authority before they are removed from isolation.
Information on personnel inside DJJ facilities
In order to protect the personal health information of these individuals, the name or occupation of the employees at these facilities will not be identified. Staff listed above may be employed by the state or one of its contracted providers. All staff that work inside DJJ facilities are screened daily on every shift prior to entering the facility and if a staffer presents with symptoms, he or she is denied entry and is instructed to contact their health care provider. Staff will not be permitted to return to work until cleared by a medical professional. Outside vendors and personnel continue to be screened daily prior to entry.
DJJ COVID-19 Response
The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice has coordinated a proactive and comprehensive response to keep all youth and staff safe. In response to this pandemic, DJJ took the following actions:
- Developed a COVID-19 guidance for all facilities serving DJJ youth, including CDC criteria on how to assess and care for youth exhibiting flu-like symptoms and environmental cleaning and disinfection recommendations.
- Modified screening protocols and procedures for youth taken into custody by law enforcement who are brought to juvenile assessment centers and detention screening units to include precautionary coronavirus screening questions and protocols.
- Instituted additional screening measures for outside vendors and personnel who work within juvenile facilities.
- Issued an emergency order suspending visitation at all state-operated juvenile detention centers and juvenile residential commitment programs. DJJ has resumed family visitation with modified procedures to facilities with no active COVID-19 cases. Programs with COVID-19 cases remain under visitation restriction. Both detention centers and residential commitment programs have worked diligently to maintain regular telephone communication, and if feasible video conferencing, between youth and their families throughout the pandemic.
- Developed and disseminated pandemic plans for all state-operated juvenile detention centers. Residential commitment providers have developed individual plans for juvenile residential commitment programs. All plans are in keeping with CDC guidelines.
Ongoing measures include the following:
- Youth entering into a juvenile detention facility must first complete a precautionary clearance form, which has been adapted to cover the symptoms and screening questions for COVID-19. All youth admitted into a residential commitment program are screened prior to leaving the detention center and then again upon their arrival to the residential commitment program.
- All staff that work at state-operated juvenile detention centers and residential commitment programs are screened daily and receive temperature checks on every shift prior to entering the facility. If a staff presents with symptoms, he or she is denied entry and instructed to contact their health care provider. Staff will not be permitted to return to work until cleared by a medical professional. Outside vendors and personnel continue to be screened daily prior to entry.
- State-operated juvenile detention centers and residential commitment programs have all implemented cleaning and sanitation plans to reduce the risk of spreading or contaminating surfaces.
For more information on the Department of Juvenile Justice’s response to COVID-19, please visit www.djj.state.fl.us/covid-19.