Christina Daly leaving Department of Juvenile Justice
Florida Dept. of Juvenile Justice Secretary Christina Daly.


Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Christina Daly will depart the agency August 31, according to a statement released Thursday afternoon by Gov. Rick Scott’s office.

Currently, it’s unclear who will replace Daly. Scott’s office said those details will soon become available.

Daly has served at DJJ since 2006 in a variety of leadership positions. In 2014, Scott, shortly after winning re-election, picked Daly to lead the agency.

“Christy Daly has done a fantastic job at DJJ and has driven positive change through innovative leadership to build a better system of care for the thousands of youth they serve,” Scott said in a prepared statement. “Under her leadership, DJJ has increased collaboration statewide with community partners, strengthened evidence-based practices and has been recognized as a national leader in reform of a comprehensive juvenile justice system.”

In a resignation letter addressed to Scott, Daly wrote, “I’m extremely proud of the progress that has been made under your administration.


“It has been my goal from the beginning to deliver to the citizens of Florida a balanced and sustainable juvenile justice system.”

A news release announcing Daly’s planned departure credits her leadership with reductions in “both juvenile arrests and incarceration statewide, while improving public safety through a more-balanced approach that incorporates a community-based, effective continuum of services that results in improved outcomes for youths.” 

Although, her tenure did not go without controversy. Following a 2017 Miami Herald investigation that found a culture of violence in youth lockups, Daly’s oversight of the agency became a hot-button issue. DJJ and the newspaper exchanged public back and forths over the nationally recognized story.

But in response to the investigation and with the help of Daly, lawmakers and Scott agreed to address the issues at juvenile detention centers through legislation. Among changes passed in 2018: An $8 million appropriation to raise probation and detention officer salaries; a $1 million investment in surveillance equipment; $5.3 million for facility upgrades; $6.1 million for new beds at lockups; and $9.1 million for prevention and intervention programs.

“Florida has risen as a state leader in juvenile justice reform, reform that has been strategic and driven by data and research,” Daly continued in her resignation letter. “Our use of validated assessments and decision-making tools has strengthened public safety throughout our communities and resulted in better outcomes for Florida’s children and families.”

Danny McAuliffe

Danny McAuliffe is a Tallahassee correspondent for Florida Politics. He is a graduate of Florida State University, where he served as the editor of the FSView & Florida Flambeau. He is a lifelong Floridian and indulges in swimming, hiking, running and memes when the news cycle permits. Reach him at [email protected]


  • Craig Chown

    July 27, 2018 at 12:00 am

    Christy Daly did a great job leading the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (FDJJ) and implementing smart justice prevention and diversion programs; improving collaboration with community and juvenile justice provider partners; juvenile rehabilitation, and safety and security within our juvenile justice facilities. Thank you for your dedication and accomplished service!

    Craig Chown
    Former Public Safety Policy Advisor to Governor’s Lawton Chiles and Jeb Bush

  • Barbara Chance

    July 27, 2018 at 6:52 am

    Floridians have lost an outstanding “leader”! So very sorry to see Christy leave. However wishng her a world of happiness in whatever she takes on – knowing she will always be successful!!

  • Nancy

    July 27, 2018 at 9:55 am

    She will be missed!

  • Concerned Citizen

    July 27, 2018 at 10:35 am

    Good riddance. Hopefully a new Governor will appoint a real leader who can take the realm of this dysfunctional agency and actually do something instead of this Crony (husband is a legislator) hand picked weakling. The youth of Florida deserve better.

  • GetItStraight

    July 27, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    Another common “drive by” by an individual without the facts. If you are referencing the Miami Herald story, that particular story covered 20 years of alleged abuse, most which was well before Ms. Daly became Secretary. You have no clue in regards to the job this great lady has performed with limited resources. She has a heart of gold and genuinely cares for these children. She constantly goes out of her way to work with providers, law enforcement, DJJ employees and the families to ensure these children are getting the best care and treatment possible. While she can’t control every move made by child or staff member, she does accept responsibility for the agency’s actions and makes every effort possible to make improvements where needed. Considering what she’s been able to do with limited resources, she fits the definition of a “great leader” and she will be greatly missed by many.

  • Dr Mimi Graham

    July 28, 2018 at 6:41 am

    Secretary Daly brought wise leadership in implementing trauma science into a system filled with teens troubled by trauma histories. The use of diversion, restorative justice and evidenced based therapies have not only reduced crime and recidivism, but have healed the underlying cause of what brought them into the system. We hate to see you go!

  • Robert Woody

    July 28, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    It was an honor to work side by side with Christy. I know for a fact she really cared about the kids and the Department of Juvenile Justice. Governor Scott was wish to appoint her as Secretary to lead DJJ. I wish you and family all the best.
    A Friend Always,

  • Stacy Gromatski

    July 30, 2018 at 11:35 am

    I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Secretary Daly since she entered the field as an intern at Tallahassee’s Capital City Youth Services in April 1997. I quickly saw the passion and commitment she had for helping young people and their families. I knew that she would accomplish great things in her career – and she has certainly demonstrated that after more than 20 years of dedicated public service. While working at the Florida Network, she showed a remarkable acumen for educating our elected officials on the needs and challenges of helping troubled youth and their families and influencing the political process. Her impact and commitment grew further when she joined DJJ, where she was able to take the lead on increasingly complex issues, impacting even more young lives. Her dedication to reform in juvenile justice as well as her support for her DJJ team and provider partners has contributed to our system being the best in the nation. Secretary Daly has been especially supportive of programs designed to prevent juvenile crime, such as the CINS/FINS programs operated across the state by Florida Network members. Due to this approach, as well as focusing funding on those programs with strong outcomes, juvenile crime in Florida is now the lowest it has been in more than four decades. I know that the decision to leave DJJ must have been a very difficult one for her, but I have faith that she will continue to play a critical and important role in making Florida a place where all young people can meet their full potential. We are grateful for her service.

    – Stacy Gromatski, President and CEO, Florida Network of Youth and Family Services

Comments are closed.


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