The Office of Regional Operations (ORO) is led by its Director, Associate Director for Strategic Initiatives, Associate Director for State Relations and Communications and 10 Regional Administrators.
Office of Regional Operations (ORO)
Joyce Thomas, Acting Director
Joyce A. Thomas is the Acting ORO Director & Regional Administrator for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in Region 2. The Region includes New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and eight federally recognized Tribal Nations. In this capacity, Ms. Thomas partners with state, local, community based organizations and tribes within the Region to promote economic independence and healthy development of children and families. From January 2018-February 2019, Ms Thomas also served as the Acting Director for the ACF Office of Regional Operations (ORO). As Acting Director, Ms. Thomas served as principal advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Children and Families regarding field operations and provided executive leadership and direction to ACF’s ten regional offices.
Ms. Thomas is a member of the Senior Executive Service (SES) and provides executive leadership and direction to ensure coordination and integration of activities among Head Start, child care, foster care and adoption, child support enforcement, youth services and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) programs.
Under Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery, ACF Region 2 partners with FEMA, state government, grantees and Tribes to ensure coordination of essential Human Services programs during disasters. Ms. Thomas has played pivotal roles in coordinating the on-ground responses to Hurricane Irene (2011) and Superstorm Sandy (2012 and continuing), the largest in the Atlantic Ocean in terms of size and the second costliest hurricane ever to make landfall in the United States. She was the recipient of the Assistant Secretary for Children and Families’ 2012 Exemplary Leadership Award for her work concerning Hurricane Irene. In October 2013, Ms. Thomas was recognized for “Exceptional Leadership and Performance Excellence” associated with the Superstorm Sandy Response and Recovery Mission. In May 2014, the Fathers and Families Coalition of America presented Ms. Thomas with The President’s Call to Service Award, which is administered by The President's Council on Service and Civic Participation within the Corporation for National and Community Service. On behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Ms. Thomas chaired the Regional Interagency Council on Homelessness from September 2016-January 2018.
Ms. Thomas previously served as the Regional Administrator for ACF’s Region 5, which includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin and thirty-five Tribal Nations. While Region 5 Administrator, Ms. Thomas also led the federal regional Interagency Council on Homelessness. Formerly, Ms. Thomas served as National Lead ACF Regional Administrator for the Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnership Initiative and National Lead RA for Emergency Preparedness and Response. She was one of the founders and co-chairs of ACF’s African American Healthy Marriage Initiative.
Prior to her employment with the Administration for Children and Families, Ms. Thomas served as the Commissioner of the State of Connecticut’s Department of Social Services. As Commissioner, she implemented major changes in the child support enforcement, TANF and Medicaid programs and played a major role in the creation of Connecticut’s innovative School Readiness legislation.
A graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, Thomas was awarded a BA in Social Work and an MA in counseling, with a minor in Spanish.
Thomas has one daughter. She is also the proud grandmother of two.
Lauren Antelo, Associate Director for Strategic Initiatives
Lauren Antelo is the Associate Director for Strategic Initiatives in the Office of Regional Operations, in the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she works closely with ACF leadership to implement cross-cutting strategies related to economic mobility, resiliency and primary prevention. She most recently served as the Family Strengthening Team Lead in the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation’s Office of Human Services Policy, focusing on child support enforcement, family stability and employment policy for low-income and vulnerable populations.
Ms. Antelo has held positions in the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement and the Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget. Prior to federal service, she was a Deputy Director at United Neighborhood Houses of New York, a policy and social change organization established in 1919 to represent New York City’s settlement houses. In this role, she provided capacity building and technical assistance to the multi-service community-based organizations throughout the five boroughs of New York City. Early in her career, Lauren served as Peace Corps volunteer in rural Bolivia. She is a former Presidential Management Fellow and holds a certificate in Management from Columbia Business School, a Bachelor of Science in Communications from New York University and Master of Science in Urban Policy Analysis and Management from The New School.
LaShon S. Beamon, Associate Director for State Relations and Communications
LaShon S. Beamon brings more than 20 years of communications, marketing, branding and public relations experience as the Associate Director for State Relations and Communications, in the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
LaShon has worked with various federal agencies, state and local government, national and local non-profits, cable stations, including Discovery Communications and Black Entertainment Television, Fortune 500 companies, sports teams and small businesses.
She has spent most of her career within government, having served cabinet-level leaders and the Mayor of the District of Columbia across the sectors of child welfare, health, and public safety. As a c-suite team member, LaShon advised heads of public agencies in bringing forth wide-scale reforms in child welfare, health care and public safety, helping them become national and international models. Specifically, LaShon has worked at the District of Columbia’s Departments of Health Care Finance (Medicaid), Health, Youth Rehabilitation Services, Forensic Science Laboratory and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
A natural strategist, LaShon uses her vast experience to curate and tailor award-winning strategic communication and outreach plans that have been lauded for their ingenuity and consistently surpass organizational goals.
LaShon attended Howard University where she majored in Journalism and minored in African-American studies.
A native of Rhode Island, LaShon resides in Montgomery County, Maryland, with her husband and their two daughters.