About Fwdshift

Fwdshift is a suite of services designed to help community service providers adopt more effective and compassionate methods of supporting the growth of children and adults with developmental disabilities


The Arc of Delaware County in New York is a community service provider and pioneer of a positive, person-centered approach to improving behavior and nurturing individual growth.

The Arc of Delaware County began applying the fwdshift method in 1980s, and over the years began sharing what we learned with other organizations like ours.

What makes fwdshift unique is that it doesn’t focus only on what a caring environment looks like or why it’s important. It goes further, showing organizations how to cultivate and sustain a positive environment, even under the most challenging circumstances.

The value of fwdshift

Fwdshift has helped numerous organizations learn how to adopt—and sustain—a positive approach to caring that results in transformative change. People with developmental disabilities gain confidence and inner strength. Providers gain professional satisfaction and purpose. And everyone benefits from the supportive relationships created when fwdshift is practiced. It will help you in four key areas:

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Fostering Care

Fwdshift helps create a truly caring environment where abuse and neglect, along with accidents, injuries and other costly and distressing incidents, are reduced or eliminated.

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Building Culture

Fwdshift leads to a culture of caring and productivity that delivers the highest quality of service to those we serve, strengthens employee morale, and enhances overall organizational effectiveness and outcomes.

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Empowering Individuals

Fwdshift offers a method of developing and empowering employees, and creating a culture that allows individuals to flourish and thrive.

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Promoting Compliance

Fwdshift helps community-based service providers comply with state and national requirements.


Meet George Suess: Fwdshift Founder

The underlying principles of fwdshift were advanced under the leadership of George Suess, who has served as CEO of The Arc of Delaware County since 1986. Over his 40-year career in human services, George has been on the forefront of changes in how institutions and people approach the care of those with developmental disabilities. He’s been advocating for cultural “shifts” in service organizations and providers for decades.

His method was formalized in 1992 with the introduction of the Shift Happens training offered by The Arc of Delaware County. George has a master’s degree in special education from the State University of New York. He has conducted hundreds of trainings to organizations across the United States.


Fwdshift is the most comprehensive approach to reducing the use of physical intervention and restraints, and improving overall organizational effectiveness.”