Thomas F. Sullivan, Regional Administrator


Regional Administrator
Administration for Children and Families
Region 8, Denver, Colorado

Thomas F. Sullivan was named Regional Administrator for the Administration for Children and Families in Denver, CO in 2002. In this capacity he has lead outreach efforts to minority communities in the Rocky Mountain West, sought to prevent child abuse, improve the level of services to the abused, engaged faith and community based organizations to develop adoption and foster care initiatives as well as mentoring programs for children of prisoners. He has lead the effort to establish throughout the six states of Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming abstinence, healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood initiatives so that the destructive effects of out-of-wedlock births and divorce could be minimized. Working with Tribal leaders from all across this region, he has sought remedies for the twin epidemics of child sexual abuse and child suicide on many reservations.   In April, 2010 Mr. Sullivan received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Montana Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council, representing all of the elected leadership of the ten tribes in those states, in recognition of his long-standing efforts to prevent the abuse and neglect of American Indian children.

Mr. Sullivan has spoken out on behalf of the many who society has passed by, befriending the poor, the abused, the neglected and the disabled, seeking creative solutions to the issues with which they deal and encouraging others to join in working on their behalf. In these efforts he has drawn on his more than 45 years of broad leadership experience in health, human services and community organization.

He led one of the first evaluations of the local health components of Head Start and as a result, designed, developed, tested and proved both the feasibility and cost effectiveness of a technical assistance program to the local Head Start health components provided by Board Certified pediatricians.  The American Academy of Pediatrics adopted and implemented nationally the model which he developed and tested, proving its effectiveness and efficiency, to provide high quality technical assistance to each of the local health components of Head Start.

When appointed Director of the Office of Long Term Care Standards Enforcement in the Boston regional office of HEW, Mr. Sullivan was responsible for consolidating staff and functions from three regional agencies.  The new office was responsible for monitoring the health quality, fire safety and handicapped accessibility of nursing homes while also implementing the first time regulation of intermediate care facilities in New England.  He developed and implemented the policy that required all federal and ultimately all state inspections of nursing homes and other health providers in New England be conducted, for the first time, on an unannounced basis. Advocates have reported that such unannounced oversight is absolutely essential to improving health care in institutional settings.

He served as the Senior Health Analyst for the US Senate Budget Committee with responsibility for advising committee members on all issues affecting the budget and arising from Medicare, Medicaid, the Public Health Service, NIH and the Veterans Administration.

He provided administrative direction to a contract providing general surgical, burn, trauma and emergency services for the San Bernardino Medical Center in southern California.  At the same time, he conducted a major evaluation of the Oklahoma system for delivering services to people with developmental disabilities.  This evaluation combined with a comparable one he lead in Connecticut demonstrated that higher quality care could be provided at lower total cost in small community residences than in large, isolated institutions.  He has testified on these issues as an expert witness in the Federal courts, set up and led seminars for White House, OMB, Congressional and Executive Branch staff and testified on these matters before state legislative committees in New England and Oklahoma. 

As a result of his efforts on behalf of people with developmental disabilities, he was awarded the Outstanding Public Service Award by the Connecticut Association for Retarded Citizens. More importantly, state Medicaid programs began to change their policies. Experimenting with paying for services in a small number of community residences, these programs finally removed all limits and encouraged the delivery of services to people with developmental disabilities in the community. Now all states either have shut down their large state institutions or have frozen admissions to them. His efforts resulted in the closure of most large state-run institutions for the developmentally delayed and the movement of those residents to small, community-based homes where higher quality care could be provided at lower cost. The 1999 Supreme Court Olmstead decision interpreting the Americans with Disabilities Act demonstrated how correct his research on the programmatic and financial aspects of care for the developmentally delayed had been more than 15 years previously. Today, more than 25 years later most of those state institutions are closed and most of those who are developmentally delayed live among us in much better circumstances and at lower public cost.

Mr. Sullivan and his wife are the parents of three and grandparents of seven. They will soon celebrate their 47th wedding anniversary.

Mr. Sullivan has undergraduate degrees in economics from Boston College and in philosophy from St. Paul’s College in Washington, DC and an MBA from Harvard.