The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) is proud to celebrate the following accomplishments and initiatives from the past year that reaffirm its place as a standout leader for juvenile justice systems around the country. Through its partnerships and innovative strategies, DJJ is continuing its unrelenting pursuit to provide high-quality effective services for youth and families while working to build stronger, safer communities in Florida.
“I’m incredibly proud of all we have achieved this year and want to thank our hardworking DJJ staff, providers, as well as our law enforcement, and community partners for their commitment to the success of Florida’s youth,” said DJJ Secretary Eric Hall. “These extraordinary accomplishments would not have been possible without the support and leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis. The Governor and First Lady DeSantis are dedicated to improving outcomes for children in need, helping families find support and build resiliency, all while ensuring public safety remains at the forefront.”
First Lady Casey DeSantis Joins Department of Juvenile Justice and Volunteer Florida to Launch New Mentoring Initiative for At-Risk Youth
First Lady Casey DeSantis joined DJJ and Volunteer Florida to announce the launch of DJJ’s new mentoring initiative – One Mentor, One Child. This initiative is working to build a statewide mentoring network that will match mentors with at-risk youth in their local communities. In addition, DJJ is partnering with Volunteer Florida to utilize Volunteer Connect to recruit mentors who will receive training from DJJ and be matched with a young person in their community. The goal of this mentoring initiative is to build relationships and identify mentors who are interested in becoming positive role models in the lives of young people in their local community.
Florida Department of Juvenile Justice and Tallahassee Community College Partner Together on New Workforce Education Program
DJJ joined Tallahassee Community College, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, and CareerSource Florida to launch Project Anchor, a new workforce education and credentialing program for DJJ youth. Project Anchor is a first-of-its-kind initiative and is in keeping with Governor Ron DeSantis’ commitment to enhancing workforce education to ensure Florida has the strongest career and technical education system in the country.
Florida Department of Juvenile Justice and the Florida Department of Health Host School Assemblies Statewide on the Lethal Dangers of Substance Abuse, a Component of The Facts. Your Future. Campaign
DJJ and the Florida Department of Health (DOH) hosted school assemblies statewide to echo the message ofThe Facts. Your Future., First Lady Casey DeSantis’ multi-faceted, scientifically based, campaign to provide Florida’s youth with the facts surrounding substance use and the lasting consequences it can have on their lives. In total, the DJJ and DOH hosted 60 school assemblies in 49 school districts. Approximately 33,000 students were reached with valuable information about the negative impacts of drugs and alcohol.
Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Receives Funding to Increase Pay for Direct-Care Staff
Through support from the Florida Legislature and with the approval of Governor DeSantis’ Freedom First Budget, DJJ received funding to improve the salaries of existing direct-care staff and allow DJJ to attract and retain talented professionals in the current competitive job market. As a result, juvenile detention officers (JDO) and juvenile probation officers (JPO) received a salary increase between $8,000 and $12,000. As a result of this additional funding, DJJ was able to increase the hourly rate for JDOs from approximately $14 an hour to $19 an hour, and the hourly rate for JPOs increased from $15 an hour to $20 an hour.
Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, Partners Hosted Roundtable Discussions to Highlight the Importance of Fatherhood
In June, DJJ hosted a series of roundtable discussions with state agency leaders and local fathers with the discussion centered around the importance of involved fatherhood and how it can make a positive impact in the lives of youth working to turn their lives around for the better. These discussions coincided with the passage of HB 7065 by the Florida Legislature. This legislation was signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis in April and designated the month of June as Responsible Fatherhood Month and established the Responsible Fatherhood Initiative which encourages and supports Florida’s fathers.
Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, The Florida Youth Foundation Honor Everyday Heroes
DJJ and the Florida Youth Foundation (FYF), DJJ’s direct support organization, honored dedicated educators and outstanding staff during a ceremony at DJJ’s annual Restoring Hope Training Summit. The Florida Youth Foundation’s Everyday Hero Awards, a first-of-its-kind awards program for Florida’s juvenile justice professionals, celebrates outstanding educators and exceptional DJJ and contracted provider staff that exceed expectations and enrich the lives of the youth and families they serve.
First Lady Casey DeSantis and the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Honor 2022 DJJ Youth Ambassadors on Youth Success Day
First Lady Casey DeSantis along with DJJ, the Florida Youth Foundation, and the Florida Juvenile Justice Association honored the 2022 DJJ Youth Ambassadors in celebration of Youth Success Day. Youth Success Day is recognized every year by DJJ and its partners to celebrate the accomplishments and hard work of youth in the state of Florida. DJJ Youth Ambassadors are youth who have turned their lives around for the better after contact with the juvenile justice system or who have participated in prevention programs for children at risk of entering the system. These ambassadors will serve as role models for other youth throughout the state.