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Staff

Over 60 dedicated staff ensure that Brevard Family Partnership continues to provide the highest level of service to the children and families we serve and provide our partners and providers with the resources necessary for them to support our programs and services.

Executive Team

Phil Scarpelli, President and Chief Executive Officer

Phil Scarpelli is the President and CEO of the Brevard Family Partnership Family of Agencies. Phil joined the Brevard Family Partnership in November 2018. Since the inception of privatization, he has been proudly involved in Florida’s child welfare system as early as the late 1990s. Previously, Phil worked as part of the Department of Children and Families Central Region’s Leadership on its middle and senior managers’ professional development and talent management. Before that, he was the State Director with Key Assets Florida, Inc., part of the International Core Assets Group, a leading children’s services provider.

Phil has 30 years of experience working in behavioral healthcare and child welfare in both clinical and administrative capacities. Throughout his career, he has been committed to children and families at risk. To develop a perpetual learning environment willing to challenge the status quo, embrace innovation, inclusion, transparency, and trust.

Phil has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Gerontology from Iona College and a Master’s Degree in Psychology from Yeshiva University.

Valerie Holmes, Ph.D., Vice President
and Chief Operating Officer

Dr. Valerie Holmes joined Brevard Family Partnership in its inception in 2004. She was instrumental in designing and refining the System of Care: training and engaging stakeholders through the start-up, privatization, and transition from a state-run to a community-based system.

Dr. Holmes is also the founding Executive Director of Brevard C.A.R.E.S.; the agency’s subsidiary that provides a comprehensive child abuse prevention continuum; serving as the primary researcher credentialing the C.A.R.E.S. Model as an Evidenced Based Practice through the California Evidenced Based Clearinghouse, serving on the C.A.R.E.S. replication team and as a Master Trainer in Wraparound. Dr. Holmes led the agency in COA accreditation in intensive care coordination and case management, was awarded several state and federal grants, is a Certified Child Protection Professional and holds a Multi-System Integration Certificate in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare from Georgetown University Public Policy Institute.

Dr. Valerie Holmes has worked in social services for 29 years and received a Ph.D. in Psychology, M.S. in Counseling and Psychology, and B.A. in Psychology.

Donald Johnson, Chief Financial Officer

Donald Johnson has more than 20 years of experience in accounting and finance. As a Chief Financial Officer at Milton Town School District in Vermont, Mr. Johnson joined Brevard Family Partnership in 2019. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Michigan State University and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Davenport University.

Kelly Swartz, Chief Legal Officer

Kelly A. Swartz is the Chief Legal Officer for the Brevard Family Partnership Family of Agencies. She most recently was employed as the Statewide Director of Legal Advocacy for the Guardian ad Litem Program. Prior to that, Kelly worked as the Staff Attorney for Brevard Family Partnership. Kelly has also worked as a Supervising Attorney, appellate counsel, trial and training specialist for DCF, and private practice, representing parents, foster parents, relatives, and children.

Kelly graduated from the University of Buffalo School of Law in 1996. She is certified in Juvenile Law by the Florida Bar, is a member of the Juvenile Court Rules Committee of the Florida Bar and the Child Forensic Interview Advisory Committee. In her spare time, Kelly likes to read or watch her beloved Buffalo Bills. She shares her home with Spenser and Hawk, her twin tux cats.

Vanessa Skyrmes, Chief Communications Officer

Vanessa Skyrmes is the Chief Communications Officer for Brevard Family Partnership and its family of agencies. Mrs. Skyrmes will lead and oversee all communications efforts internally and externally.

With over 15 years of communications experience, Mrs. Skyrmes has an extensive broadcast journalism background that began in Washington DC in 2006. Within that tenure, she worked as a bilingual reporter and news producer for news outlets such as CNN, CNN en Español, International Broadcasting Board of Governors (IBBG), also referred to as Voice America and Telemundo.

She founded her communications company in 2009 to provide services as a Communications and Public Relations Consultant, and Digital Marketing Professional which helped mostly women-owned small businesses. Mrs. Skyrmes is a graduate of Marymount University located in Arlington, Virginia and holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications with a minor in Journalism.

In 2019, she became a Space Coast resident with her family and started volunteering in the area. Prior to joining Brevard Family Partnership, she completed the Florida Against Sexual Abuse Certification. In addition, she acquired a Reputation Management Certificate from the Public Relations Society of America organization.

Her passion is storytelling, and child protection is her mission as a mom of three children.

Kevin Maloney, Senior Executive of Data Analytics
and Information Technology

Kevin retired from active duty in 2004 from the United States Air Force. He served 11 years in the Intelligence Community. In 2004, Kevin began his second career in social work by becoming a case manager with Juvenile Justice. His primary role was to manage 16 Juvenile Offenders in an intensive therapy dorm residing in a maximum-security facility.

In 2005, Kevin became a Case Manager Supervisor with The Harbor and The Centers, subcontracted providers of the Community Based Care lead agency, Kids Central, Inc. He was responsible for providing continuity of care, with the goal of permanent placement for children through a care management model that included developing, expanding, accessing, and linking resources in the community to the child’s needs through the child’s experience in the system of care. He directly supervised seven Family Care Managers that provided oversight to approximately 175 children.

In 2007, Kevin moved to Kids Central, Inc. to become their Director of Information Technology and General Services. In this role, he was instrumental in keeping Kids Central on the cutting-edge of technology. He was responsible for a network that supported over 300 end-users. He ensured data integrity and availability to the State of Florida Safe Families Network (FSFN).

In 2013, Kevin became the Director of Operations for Kids Central, Inc. He was responsible for performance oversight to the subcontracted providers. He was responsible for ensuring that service delivery was performed per the organization’s mission, vision, and values. He also was responsible for providing direction and leadership to the organization’s Independent Living Program and for compliance management for the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children.

Kevin received a Master’s in Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma in 2000 and a Bachelors in Business Administration with a minor in Management from Troy University in 1990. He has worked in the social services field in community-based, non-profit settings for the last 13 years. He was the Chairman of the Board for the Child Advocacy Center (Jessie’s Place) in Citrus County. He has Child Welfare Case Manager Supervisor certification and is an Independent Living Specialist. Kevin is a Florida Sterling Council Advanced Examiner and is certified Six Sigma Green Belt and Yellow Belt.

Ashley Carraro, Senior Executive of Programs

Ashley Carraro is the Senior Executive of Programs at Brevard Family Partnership, where she has served since 2006. In this role, she provides leadership over Intake and Placement, Clinical Services, Licensing, the Sunshine Child Welfare Specialty Plan, and Care Coordination.

Ashley began her career in child welfare in 1996, doing clinical outreach with low-income students. She holds a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Central Florida and a Master of Social Work from Florida State University and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She is the proud mother of Sam, her 10-year-old son, and Kevin’s loving wife. Over the past three years, she has sought, through training, mentoring, and leadership, to transform the local child welfare system to be one that fosters awareness and knowledge regarding the impact of trauma on children and families; and upon those who serve and care for them.

She seeks to improve the lives of children by adhering to the quote of John Shipp, who said, “Every Kid Is One Caring Adult Away From Being A Success Story.”

Leadership Team

Heather Howlett, Senior Director of Quality Assurance, Performance, Training

Ms. Howlett has seventeen years of child welfare experience and is currently the Director of Quality Management Services, Training, and Development at Brevard Family Partnership. Ms. Howlett previously worked at Brevard CARES for six years and was responsible for implementing and piloting the Safety Management Team and numerous other in-home service programs. Prior to that, Ms. Howlett worked for the Florida Department of Children and Families for twelve years, supporting child abuse investigations.

Ms. Howlett has served as the Child Abuse Prevention Local Planning Team Convener for Circuit Eighteen and Chair of the Child Abuse Prevention Task Force for many years. Ms. Howlett obtained her MBA from the University of Central Florida in 2008 and her Psychology degree from the University of Florida in 2002. Ms. Howlett is a member of Brevard County’s Together in Partnership group. Ms. Howlett trains on child abuse prevention, family safety, data analysis, problem-solving techniques, job interviewing, and computer skills.

Tracy Little, MBA, Director of Wraparound and Fidelity

As a former foster parent and legal guardian to children with mental health needs, Tracy is both a consumer and a seasoned Wraparound Practitioner. Wraparound Fidelity Liaison for Brevard Family Partnership and Brevard C.A.R.E.S. provides classroom training of Wraparound 101, Wraparound 201, Advanced Facilitation Trainings, technical assistance, coaching, and mentoring. Tracy is a master practitioner who serves the system of care as he ensures continuous quality improvement of Wraparound and Family Team Conferencing and collects and uses data from the WOF to coach, mentor, and supervise Wraparound trainees and practitioners. In addition, Tracy serves as a Master Trainer and Consultant at the National Center for Innovation and Excellence.

Tracy has been involved in human services for many years and truly exemplifies family-centered, youth-driven care values. Tracy will stop at nothing to impart hope to those he encounters. His motto is to do whatever it takes, and that he does. No matter where he goes or who he works with, Tracy is a role model and agent of change.

Tracy was instrumental in launching Brevard County’s signature child abuse prevention program, Brevard C.A.R.E.S., as the first Prevention and Diversion Care Coordinator hired in August of 2005. Since then, he has led the program as the Program Manager and now leads our System of Care’s Wraparound efforts as the Wraparound Fidelity Liaison and member of the National Replication Team, most recently named the 2015 Child Abuse Prevention Task Force CAP Leader.

Recognized nationally for his work in youth advocacy, Tracy has provided training for the National Wraparound Initiative in the area of Initial Family Engagement and the role of the Family Partner. He holds a Master of Business Administration and has 20 years of experience in child welfare and mental health. He also serves as a National Consultant and Trainer in family strengthening models.

Debbie Dorfman, Director of Utilization Management

Debbie began her career in child welfare with the Department of Children and Families in 1998 and joined Brevard Family Partnership in 2005. In 2009, she worked closely with a technology company to design an automated service referral & delivery system, which became operational in 2010 and is still in use today.

Currently, Debbie works closely with providers and case management as the single point of contact for any system issues. She uses that system to monitor service budgets and provider utilization of services. Debbie is responsible for ensuring that we use substance abuse and mental health funds for children appropriately and maintain documentation required for audits. She also serves as the FSFN security officer for the agency.

LaChrista Jones, Director of Licensing

LaChrista Jones began her career in Child Welfare services in 1999, with the Florida Department of Children and Families, as a Family Service Counselor and was later promoted to Family Service Counselor Supervisor.

LaChrista has been employed with Brevard Family Partnership, the lead Child Welfare Agency in Brevard County, for 12 years and has served in many leadership positions to include Care Coordinator, Child and Family Program Manager, and Director of Child and Family Services.

LaChrista is very passionate about making a difference in children’s and family’s lives. LaChrista holds a Master’s Degree in Management and Leadership from Webster University, a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Organizational Management from Warner Southern University, and is a Certified Child Welfare Case Manager Supervisor.

LaChrista is happily married to Ken Jones, and they have one daughter, Lakendra Jones.

Jessica Ayala, Director of Out of Home Care

Jessica Ayala is the Director of Out of Home Care at Brevard Family Partnership. In this role, she provides leadership over Out of Home Care and Adoptions.

Jessica began her career in child welfare in 2003 as a Treatment Coordinator with Pressley Ridge, a Treatment Foster Care Agency, in Cincinnati, OH. She holds a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Northern Kentucky University and a Master of Arts in Counseling from Webster University. Jessica relocated from Cincinnati in 2009 and began working with Brevard Family Partnership in 2010 as a Utilization Review Specialist. Jessica spent two years as a Guidance Counselor in the school system and returned to Brevard Family Partnership in 2016 as the Director of Intake, Placement, and Assessment.

Jessica is a proud mother to her two children, Bryson and Layna, and a loving wife to her husband, Ricardo. When not at work, Jessica can be found cheering on her children at many sporting events.

Cyndi Hernandez, Director of Human Resources

Cyndi Hernandez is the Director of Human Resources for the Brevard Family Partnership Family of Agencies. Cyndi joined the FOA as the HR Manager in April 2016 and has over 13 years of experience working with the child welfare System of Care in Brevard County, including serving on the Brevard CARES Board of Directors for over 4 years. Throughout her career, she has worked in different industries in varying capacities and draws on her experience to lead the HR Department with compassion for internal and external customers while assuring HR compliance.


Cyndi has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Central Florida and an MBA from St. Leo University.

Wanda Arocho, Director of Behavioral Health

Wanda is the Director of Behavioral Health at Brevard Family Partnership. She brings a passion to help children and families with experience in the child welfare arena that spans over 20 years. Wanda’s passion to excel and commitment to furthering her education resulted in her obtaining three master’s degrees. Two from Webster University, one in Leadership and the other in Human Resource Management. She later went on to obtain her master’s degree in Social Work at the University of Central Florida.

Wanda is very family oriented and a loving mother of 2 sons, Xaviar and Alfred aka AJ. Wanda also has been instrumental in the lives of many of her nieces and nephews. She believes spending quality time with family is very important and essential in developing strong family bonds and connections which is why she hosts most family gatherings including Thanksgiving and Christmas.

During her free time Wanda enjoys serving in the community with her sorority Zeta Phi Beta and enjoys watching Syfy movies and “retail therapy.”

Hilary Farnum, Director of Kinship

Hilary Farnum is the Director of Kinship at Brevard Family Partnership. In this role, she provides leadership over the Level 1 Licensing program for relative and non-relative placements. Hilary began her career in 1992, working as a case manager at a youth shelter in Massachusetts. She moved to Florida in the spring of 1995 and has worked for Children’s Home Society and the Department of Children and Families. She also previously worked for Brevard Family Partnership from 2005 to 2016 in Quality Assurance and is excited to re-join the Family of Agencies.

Hilary holds a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Central Florida (2013) and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology from L.I.U. Southampton (1990). She is a Certified Child Welfare Case Manager Supervisor.

Hilary is a HUGE Red Sox fan and likes to attend musicals throughout the Central Florida area. Hilary is a long-time fan of James Taylor and has seen him in concert more times than she can count. She has four fabulous nieces and nephews and two adorable cats.

Christopher Goncalo, MPA, Director of Contracts
and Compliance

Christopher has been involved in Child Welfare for more than twenty years, both as a foster parent, adoptive parent of a special needs child and as a child welfare professional. He has been working at Brevard Family Partnership since 2014 and prior from 2007 to 2011. He has served in the roles of Caregiver Liaison, Compliance Specialist, and Contract and Compliance Manager.

Christopher recently led the organization through the intensive reaccreditation process with the Council on Accreditation. Prior to arriving at Brevard Family Partnership he served in various roles at DCF in the Central Region including Family Services Counselor, Office of Inspector General’s Contract Oversight Unit and Child Protective Investigations.

Christopher moved to FL from MA in 2003. Prior to that he worked in contracts and compliance in the Medicaid mental health field for the state of MA’s Division of Medical Assistance. Working in this field motivated him to earn a Master of Arts degree in Public Administration and Healthcare Management from Suffolk University in 1997. Christopher is the proud father of four adult children: Emily, Madeline, Anthony and Raymond.

Rocio Dean, Director of Independent Living

Rocio Dean is the Director of Independent Living for Brevard Family Partnership.  In this role, she serves as the single point of contact for youth and young adults.  She provides guidance to support our youth and young adults in becoming self-sufficient and maintains positive connections throughout the county to ensure a successful transition to adulthood.

Rocio grew up in Dade County and became a Brevard County resident in 2010. She is a graduate from Florida International University, earning a Bachelor of Psychology in 2007. Rocio is a certified teacher in exceptional student education with pre-kindergarten through third grade and a registered Behavior Technician.  She has over a decade of experience working with youth and a passion to encourage young adults to advocate for their happiness and stability.

Rocio is a devoted mother to her two children, Madison and Rian, and a loving wife to her husband, Peter. When she is not at work, you can find her in the stands cheering for her son’s baseball team or watching her daughter excel in Taekwondo. She loves music, photography, and tasting different cuisine.

Katie Guemple, Executive Director of Family Allies

Katie Guemple, Executive Director for Family Allies, joined the family of agencies in 2017. She is a native Floridian who brings over 20 years of experience working in child welfare operations and started as a Child Protective Investigator in 2002 before moving into various leadership roles in child protective investigations and dependency case management.

She grew up in Seminole County and became a Brevard County resident in 2014. She is a graduate of Florida State University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology in 2002. Ms. Guemple is a certified Child Protection Professional and was identified as one of Florida’s Super Safety Practice Experts when the state rolled out their new practice model in 2013. She was a leader in the roll-out of Florida’s Safety Decision Making Methodology in Brevard County. Katie has specialized training in Adoption Competency and is a member of the local Adoption Applicant Review Committee.

Kathryn Parker, LMHC #14889 Executive Director

Kathryn Parker, LMHC #14889, Executive Director of the National Center for Innovation & Excellence (NCFIE)

Kathryn Parker is currently the Executive Director for the National Center for Innovation & Excellence. Kathryn began her mental health career teaching life skills to adults with major mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Through this work, Kathryn was able to observe the impact families can have that may help or hinder a person with a major mental illness. This caused Kathryn to begin work with children and families.

She was able to help educate families on how to help their loved ones lead their best life possible. Kathryn has been working with children’s issues for over 15 years.

Kathryn transitioned to the Department of Children and Families as a Child Protective Investigator. It was through this work that she discovered that she was passionate about helping families before there is a need to have court involvement. She began working for Brevard C.A.R.E.S in 2015. Kathryn was initially hired as a Diversion Care Coordinator. Since that time, she has served in the roles of Family Engagement Specialist for the Safety Management Team, Mobile Response Team Coordinator, Non-Judicial In Home Services Supervisor, Chief Operations Officer, and Executive Director. She believes that having clinical training helps bring a perspective to managing the safety of children by bringing an understanding of how past trauma can impact parenting and ongoing behavioral change.

Kathryn graduated with a MS in Counseling Psychology from Palm Beach Atlantic University in August of 2012. She completed her Licensed Mental Health in Counseling in March of 2018. She also has a Bachelor’s in Administration from Columbia College and worked several years as an Assistant Branch manager for a national financial institution.

Kathryn is married with three children and is very involved with the worship team at her church. She believes a person’s religion, or the lack thereof, can have a significant impact on their ability to heal.

Rebecca Melick, MSW – Executive Director
of Brevard C.A.R.E.S.

Rebecca has been working with children and families in Brevard County for the last ten years. She obtained her Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) in 2012 and went on to receive her master’s degree in Social Work (MSW) in 2013 from The University of Central Florida.

Rebecca has worked within her preferred area of social work, child welfare, for most of her career. She started with the Department of Children and Families where she served as a Child Protective Investigator and eventually became a Senior Child Protective Investigator. She has held her Child Welfare Certification since 2014.

Rebecca transitioned to a supervisory role with the Non-Judicial In-Home Services program with Brevard CARES, was promoted to Program Director in 2019, and Director of Operations in 2021. Currently, Rebecca holds the position of Interim Executive Director, where she is able to­­ utilize the hands-on experience she has obtained, along with her passion for strengths-based family engagement, to promote change within the community she serves.

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