Possibility Unleashed: The 2023 ANCOR Annual Conference

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About Tony

Tony Thomas, LISW-S, ACSW has extensive experience in the developmental disabilities field. Tony began his career in the field as a direct care worker, and specialist in guardianship for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Tony has been Executive Director of Welcome House Inc. in Cleveland, Ohio since 1999; Welcome House, Inc. is a residential and community services agency serving 210 persons with IDD in 46 group residential and community living sites with a staff of over 400.

Tony received his Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the Ohio State University in 1977 and received his Master’s degree in Social Work from Case Western Reserve University and its Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences (MSASS) in 1984. He is also a Licensed Independent Social Worker in Ohio with specific supervision designation (LISW-S) and a member of the National Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW).

Tony has been actively involved in the development of the first ever statewide credentialing and certification program in Ohio for DSP’s working with persons with IDD. This program called the Professional Achievement through Training and Education in the Human Services field (DSPATHS) has received a national award (the Moving Mountains Award) for its success in credentialing frontline staffs. He has been a trustee of the Ohio Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (OADSP) since its inception and is a Past President of OADSP. He is a certified instructor in DSPATHS training as well as a curriculum writer for this program. The DSPATHS program in Ohio is the nation’s largest statewide credentialing program for DSP’s (Direct Support Professionals).

Tony has worked with others around the country to establish a national credential for DSP’s under the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP). This organization is the leading national advocacy group to benefit DSPs and enhance the image of DSP’s as professionals. Tony is one of the first trustees of this organization and is the former President of NADSP. Tony was awarded the John F. Kennedy Jr. national award in September of 2019. This award is presented to a person who has committed significant time and effort for workforce development for the IDD field. Tony has also worked with another national IDD organization; the National Association for the Dual Diagnosed (NADD). He co-chaired a workforce committee that helped to develop the first credentialing program for DSP’s that specialize in dual diagnosis work. Tony is now a Trustee of NADD.

In his role with ANCOR (the American Network of Community Options and Resources), Tony has been a member of the Government Relations (GR) Committee and the Co-chairperson of the ANCOR Board of Representatives (BOR) Committee. His work on these two committees has been recent but Tony has been a long time member of ANCOR and is now a member of the Board of Directors of ANCOR.