FOURTH CIRCUIT JUDGE DAVID M. GOODING, left, was named recipient of the William E. Gladstone Award, recognizing his judicial leadership and service to Florida’s children. The statewide award was presented at the annual Child Protection Summit hosted by the Florida Department of Children and Families. “Judge Gooding is well known for his successful efforts and innovative approaches in streamlining the adoption process so foster children do not languish in the child welfare system,” said Lee Kaywork, Family Support Services of North Florida chief executive officer. Judge Gooding said he believes the award is a recognition of the team with which he works. He credits his staff, Family Support Services, the Guardian ad Litem Office and volunteers, the DCF, and the attorneys who work daily in his court. “Most of all, both the credit and our thanks is due our foster and adoptive parents for opening their homes and their hearts to children when they needed a home,” Gooding said. Pictured presenting the award is Judge Gladstone. “Government is a poor substitute for a parent,” Gooding said. “Children need arms to hold them, ears that listen to them and hearts that love them. Government has none of these things, but our foster and adoptive parents provide these in abundance.” Judge Gooding has served in the Fourth Judicial Circuit since 2003. He frequently teaches judges in Florida and other states, including Michigan, Massachusetts and New York, about best practices to assist children and their families, but most often instructs in how to reduce the length of time children spend in foster care before being adopted into a permanent family. FSS is the lead agency for foster care, adoption and family preservation in Duval and Nassau counties. For more information, visit www.fssjax.org.