Event honors the volunteers, judges, and community leaders who make a difference for our community’s children

MEDIA CONTACT: Candice L. Maze, Florida Foster Care Review Executive Director
Cell. 305-772-0708 or cmaze@fostercarereview.org

MIAMI, FL – May 30, 2014 – Florida Foster Care Review, formerly “Foster Care Review,” announced its new name and kicked off its 25th Anniversary with a reception on May 21, 2014 at the New World Symphony on Miami Beach. More than 125 supporters gathered to celebrate the organization’s achievements in protecting the safety and well-being of abused and neglected children throughout the past quarter century.

“As I pause to consider what this year means in the life of our organization, I am acutely aware that the successes we have had in improving the lives of children would not have been possible without the support of our incredible community,” said Candice L. Maze, Executive Director of Florida Foster Care Review. “This event was all about honoring those who made the achievements of the past 25 years possible.”

Twenty-five “Stars of Florida Foster Care Review” were recognized at the event, which was emcee’d by the Honorable Bertila Soto, Chief Judge of the 11th Judicial Circuit. Among the Stars were Ann Swaner, Edith Hudson, Glenda Whatley, Judy Webb, Michael Milton, Nadine Johnson, Robert Rosen, and Peter Forrest – all of whom have dedicated extraordinary time and energy to the Citizen Review Panel, Florida Foster Care Review’s core program. Also honored were longtime former board members Brian Misiunas, Chris Hutchins, David Duckenfield, Peggy Hudson, Kathy Ezell, MaryAnne Lukas, Michael Samway, Barbara Rostov, and former Executive Director of 11 years, Ana Pozo. Other Stars included community leaders involved in founding or developing Florida Foster Care Review along with many of the child-serving organizations in Miami: the Honorable Cindy S. Lederman, 11th Judicial Circuit, Juvenile Division; Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally Heyman; David Lawrence, former Miami Herald publisher and president of the Early Childhood Foundation and Florida Children’s Movement; Berta Blecke, child advocate; Bill Walker, FFCR founding board president; Doug Halsey, partner at White & Case and chair of FFCR’s Legacy Board; Dr. Walter Lambert, medical director of Miami’s Child Protection Team; and Octavio “Coach” Verdeja, founder, volunteer, and accountant for FFCR for more than a decade.

Three special awards were also presented. The Honorable William E. Gladstone, former Circuit Judge in the 11th Judicial Circuit, Juvenile Division, received the first-ever Judicial Champion Award for his lifelong leadership in assisting abused, neglected, and delinquent children and youth. The Douglas M. Halsey Award for Community Service went to Joni Goodman, former Executive Director of the Guardian Ad Litem Program of the 11th Judicial Circuit Court and Regional Director of the statewide Guardian Ad Litem Program. White & Case LLP was named 2014 Corporate Partner Award for its participation in the United Way Committee that led to Foster Care Review’s founding, and for its continued commitment to the mission.

Executive Director Candice Maze announced the organization’s new name, Florida Foster Care Review, which was chosen to reflect the expanded geographic scope of the organization’s efforts. A new logo was also released, reflecting the organization’s new vision for the future, due to be unveiled fully during the remaining months of 2014.


Florida Foster Care Review promotes the safety, well-being, and long-term success of abused and neglected children through comprehensive volunteer-driven case reviews and system-level advocacy. Florida Foster Care Review was established in 1989 by a United Way committee that recommended using volunteers to ease the burden on Miami’s Juvenile Dependency Court. Since that time, the challenges faced by children in foster care have increased in complexity. In response, Florida Foster Care Review is expanding its facilitated case review concept to more intensively promote positive outcomes for abused and neglected children and youth.


White & Case LLP – title sponsor
Bank of America – corporate sponsor

Individual sponsors:

Jean and Kenneth Bell
Peggy and Doug Hudson
Doug and Amy Halsey
Dr. Kenneth Fischer

Wine sponsor: Whole Foods of Coral Gables

In kind photographer: Al Ricketts Photo

Other contributors: Joanna’s Marketplace and Arrowmail Corporate Services