Monica Matthews was at the lowest point of her life when she met Cordivido Grice, a Family Intervention Specialist with Embrace Florida Kids’ Family Preservation program.
The Milton mother battled mental health issues and had lost custody of her daughter because state child welfare officials feared for the child’s safety. Her daughter had been in foster care for a year, and Matthews was determined to regain custody and be a good mother. With Grice’s help, she accomplished her goals. “I could feel her sorrow,” Grice said. “She knew she messed up, but I told her she could learn from that and grow.”
The Family Preservation program is designed to help at-risk families stay together. EFK’s Family Intervention Specialists work closely with parents to ensure that they have the skills and resources they need to provide safe, loving homes for their children.
“This life is a learning process,” Grice said. “People go through a lot of ups and downs, and we help the parents empower themselves to overcome their roadblocks.”
At first, Matthews was hesitant to work with Grice because she wasn’t sure of his motives. “I told her that I was on her team and that I wanted to help her do whatever she needed to do to get her daughter back,” Grice said. “She had such relief when she realized I wasn’t there to take her daughter away.”
Matthews attended counseling and parenting classes, and she received medical care that helped her get her mental health issues under control. Grice taught her self-care techniques that helped her manage her stress and anxiety, and he provided discipline techniques that focused on teaching instead of punishing.
As a result, her relationship with her daughter improved considerably, and she learned to focus on the positive instead of the negative. “She worked so hard,” Grice said.
“I could see that she loved her daughter a lot and that she wanted to be a better parent. It gives me gratification to see people come out of a bad place in their lives.”
Matthews said she is grateful for the Family Preservation program and the difference it made in her life. “I am well pleased to know that there are agencies in place that actually care about the family,” she said. “We were treated with courtesy and respect, and Mr. Grice has impacted our lives in a positive way that will be with us forever. My daughter is thriving and our family is happy, healthy and full of love.”