ADvancing States recognized Nancy Thaler, Deputy Secretary, Office of Developmental Services, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, at the HCBS Conference with the Katie Beckett Award.
Katie Beckett was a national hero who championed the rights of individuals to live in whatever place they call home. It is because of Katie, and her mother Julie's refusal to let limitations define her daughter, that children have been able to live with their families, and in their homes, for the past 30 years. Though Katie’s spirit, tenacity, and courage will be missed, the legacy that the Becketts created for all of us, in law and in love, will remain.
Today the 4th Katie Beckett Award goes to Nancy Thaler for her work in support of persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
Nancy recently served as the Executive Director of the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services, assisting 51 state agencies in policy and program development, where she was involved in strategic planning, managing the operating budget, and directing the association’s activities.
She also previously served as the Director of Quality Improvement for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Deputy Secretary of ODP for both Republican and Democratic administrations, and several years as Executive Director of PA’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.
Martha Roherty, Executive Director at ADvancing States, stated, "It is with great privilege and pride to award the 2015 Katie Beckett Award to Nancy Thaler for her tireless efforts on behalf of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Board of ADvancing States decided to present this award to Nancy when she announced her retirement from the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS) where she served for 8 years as their executive director...
During her tenure at NASDDDS, she led the DD directors in their efforts in the states to reduce the misuse of psychotropic medications; she greatly expanded the National Core Indicator project (and partnered with ADvancing States to expand the project to include Aging and Disability); she fought for employment first polices to be the norm for individuals with disabilities; and she sought innovative solutions to the issues that long plague our systems—on housing and transportation.
As a federal advocate, Nancy worked to help clarify the Department of Labor regulation and its impact on consumers and their families. Nancy was a very powerful and influential partner at the quarterly meetings at CMS. From the Home and Community Based Services regulation, to the quality improvement metrics, to the definitions of adult services, Nancy has been steadfast in her support of the home and community based program and has been a visionary leader promoting improved services and supports for consumers and their families... I can truly think of no more deserving of the Katie Beckett award than Nancy Thaler."