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Task Force on Fostering Success
~ Judge David M. Gooding Biography ~

... continued from our Task Force Members Home Page.

David married his high school sweetheart, Cathy, in 1974. They have two children attending High School and their daughter will be entering the University of Florida in the Fall. Judge Gooding and his family are members of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, where David serves as a deacon, boys High School class teacher and a nursery volunteer.

In addition to belonging to various professional associations, Judge Gooding currently serves as a member of and faculty for the Florida Conference of Circuit Court Judges Education Committee and serves as a member of the Florida Supreme Court Steering Committee on Families and Children in the Courts, where he and chairs a subcommittee, and continues to serve with a number of charitable and religious organizations. A frequent speaker at educational conferences for judges, lawyers, foster care community and case workers, Judge Gooding recently addressed the nation's Chief Justices at A Summit on Children, jointly presented by the National Conference of Chief Justices and the National Center for State Courts to share best practices for expediting adoptions.

Judge Gooding has received numerous local, state and national awards for his work on the bench as an advocate for children in the courts, more specifically, those children who have languished in foster care awaiting adoption. Judge Gooding was received:
  • Mayor's Victim Assistance Advisory Council Judicial Advocate Award
  • Guardian ad litem Judge's Award for Duval County
  • United States Department of Health and Human Services Adoption Excellence Award
  • Florida Adoption Council Award of Excellence
  • Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute Angel in Adoption
United States Senator Mel Martinez stated reasons for selecting Judge Gooding for a congressional award were as follows:

"Judge David Gooding is well known in the foster adoption community throughout the State of Florida. He considers all the children under his jurisdiction to be "his" children, and expects them to be treated accordingly. Judge Gooding is an advocate for Florida's foster children, especially those being adopted. Through his position as a Juvenile Judge in Duval County in fiscal year 2005-2006 alone he was involved in over 200 adoptions of children from foster care, including 52 adoptions on a single day in December. He has set aside Fridays on his docket as "Family First Fridays" providing easy access for families for finalization hearings for the adoption of their foster children. Judge Gooding has mastered the ability to cut through bureaucratic red tape to keep children who need adoption from languishing in limbo, and shares his secrets with others at Family Court and judicial conferences statewide. His focus is always the best interest of the child and I believe to the kids who come before him in Duval County he is both a Judge and their Adoption Angel."
In the last two fiscal years, with the active collaboration of The Department of Children and Families, Family Support Services and the Guardian ad litem's Office, Judge Gooding's innovative, efficient and effective approach to case management has resulted in Duval County leading the state in adoptions in total numbers or percentages over goals.