MELBOURNE ― Brevard Family Partnership, in partnership with Community Credit Union, Gator Automotive Group and Crosswinds Youth Services announced "The Road to Autonomy", a car loan program for youth exiting foster care.

“Many youth exiting the foster care system face hurdles that other young adults may not experience,” said Phil Scarpelli, CEO of Brevard Family Partnership, “Among those challenges is purchasing their first car.”

Reliable transportation is essential to help ensure young adults achieve self-sufficiency as they exit foster care and move on to higher education or the workforce.

"Providing older foster youth with the tools needed to succeed in life and in the workplace is vital to our mission of caring for Brevard County’s most vulnerable youth,” said Mr. Scarpelli.

The Road to Autonomy Car Loan Program is specifically designed for young adults in Brevard County who have exited foster care or are in extended foster care. These youth may now be eligible for a car loan program tailored specifically to them. Brevard Family Partnership has partnered with Community Credit Union to secure car loans for the youth.

“Part of Community Credit Union’s mission is to make a positive difference in our community. Our hope is to give these young adults the tools they need to gain independence and help guide them on the path to success,” said Laurie Cappelli, president and CEO of Community Credit Union.

Gator Automotive Group will assist youth in selecting an appropriate and reliable vehicle within the youth’s budget.

“We are proud to support Brevard Family Partnership, Community Credit Union, and Crosswinds Youth Services in helping local foster youth successfully purchase a car that will best fit their needs. Here at Gator Automotive Group, we understand that reliable transportation is a key component to ensure youth exiting foster care have the tools necessary to begin the next stage of their lives,“ said Joe Kelly, president of Gator Automotive Group

But purchasing the car is just the first piece of this innovative new program in Brevard. Compared to their non-foster peers, foster youth are at a much greater risk for a variety of financial pitfalls. Crosswinds Youth Services is stepping in as an integral part of the Road to Autonomy Program by hosting workshops on financial literacy, including budget creation, life skills, and coaching sessions as the youth navigate life decisions.

“One poor decision can make a negative impact on the youth’s credit for many years,” said Jan Lokay, CEO of Crosswinds Youth Services, “Our goal is to ensure youth make well-informed decisions and have supports in place to ensure financial stability for their future.”

“With our community partners in place that wrap the youth in services from the beginning to the end of the process, we are confident the youth enrolled in this program will be well on their way to self-sufficiency and success. That’s what the ‘Road to Autonomy’ is all about,” Mr. Scarpelli said.

Established in 2004 by a Legislative mandate to privatize foster care and related services in Florida (Section 409.1617, Florida Statutes), Brevard Family Partnership is Brevard County’s lead child welfare agency. Working in partnership with over 70 community organizations, its mission is to protect children, strengthen families and change lives through the prevention of child abuse and the operation and management of a comprehensive, integrated, community-based system of care for abused, abandoned and neglected children, and their families

For more information, visit www.brevardfp.org.

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