Headquarters Communications Staff
1317 Winewood Blvd., Suite 201
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0700
Office: 850-717-4450 | Fax: 850-922-2993
Jessica Sims, Communications Director
Jessica Sims joined the Florida Department of Children and Families as Communications Director in October 2015. Prior to joining the department she served as Press Secretary for the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity as the primary spokesperson for television, radio and print media. She previously served as the Public Information Specialist for the Florida Division of Emergency Management and as the Information Director for the Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Park Service. She has a bachelor’s degree in sociology and political science from Florida State University.
DaMonica Smith, Press Secretary
DaMonica Smith began her career at the Department of Children and Families in 2009 as a senior clerk in the Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. In 2010, she left the Department to pursue an internship with the Executive Office of the Governor (EOG) where she where she was later hired. During her time in the EOG, she worked with several deputy chiefs of staff and assisted with external affairs events and messaging.
Shortly after joining the EOG, DaMonica was offered a position as the External Affairs Coordinator at the Florida Department of Education (DOE). Over the course of three years, DaMonica oversaw logistical management for DOE and EOG education related events, developed marketing materials for statewide initiatives, assisted with social media and media relations.
Most recently, DaMonica served as the Northwest Regional Communications Director covering a 16-county media market from Jefferson to Escambia counties. DaMonica is a graduate of Florida A&M University where she obtained her Master's degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor's degree in Political Science.
Jennifer Carroll-Hirst, Marketing Communications Coordinator
Jennifer came to the department with more than 15 years of management, marketing, and media related experience.
Before arriving at DCF, Jennifer worked in the private sector where she was heavily involved in marketing, writing, and public relations. Previously, Jennifer worked for the State of Florida serving in the communication departments at the Florida Department of Health, Florida Department of Financial Services, Office of the State Courts Administrator, and Florida Department of Law Enforcement. These positions involved working with the media, writing press releases, representing agencies at conferences/meetings, providing media related training to staff, and public relations and marketing efforts to promote agency campaigns.
Jennifer graduated from Florida State University with a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism, with a Minor in English.
Pat Smith, Community Relations Director
Pat Smith currently serves as the Community Relations Director for the Department of Children and Families. She began her career with the agency in 2007 as the Public Relations Manager for District 2. Shortly after, Pat was asked to serve as the Northwest Region’s Communications Director. She later served as the agency’s first African-American Press Secretary.
During Pat’s tenure at DCF she served in other leadership roles in Communications and External Affairs, including serving as the statewide faith-based coordinator where she significantly increased the number of new faith-based partnerships working with DCF. For the past four years, She has chaired the National Faith Symposium. In 2013, she was appointed by the governor to the Florida Faith-Based and Community-Based Advisory Council and currently serves as Vice-Chair.
Joseph Edwards, Creative Director
Joseph Edwards joined the Office of Communications in September 2014 as Creative Director, bringing over 25 years of visual arts experience to the management of the department's graphics and video projects. He previously served on the department's Executive Staff, where he developed the Secretary’s correspondence tracking system and implemented the Governor’s Plain Language Initiative. Prior to joining DCF, he worked at Florida State University as a graphic artist and a graphic design and drawing instructor. He graduated from Florida State University with a Master of Fine Arts and is a Certified Public Manager.
Jon Bristow, Webmaster
Shortly after graduating from Leeds Metropolitan University with degrees in Electrical and Electronic Systems Engineering in 1997, Jon Bristow left England and began his career in the U.S. working with DCF as a contract programmer on the FLORIDA system that processes eligibility for federal benefits. In 2007, he joined DCF full-time as a report analyst in Information Technology Services before becoming the Webmaster in 2008. When the web team moved into the communications office in January 2012, Jon brought his knowledge, innovative web design techniques and international flair to the agency’s communications team.
David Taylor, Web Services, Graphic Design and Layout
David Taylor joined the Communications office in January 2012 after serving as an applications programmer for Information Technology Services. David is part of our web services team assisting in the maintenance and development of the department's web presence specializing in web design, layout and graphics, as well as accessibility compliance. He began work at the department in April 2000 and was promoted to his programming position in 2006. He began his state career in 1985 with Agriculture and Consumer Services and moved to the Department of Management Services in 1990.