Elizabeth Gaines


Vice President, Policy Solutions

Elizabeth helps executive and legislative policymakers improve youth policy in communities and states around the country. She oversees the Forum’s work on state and local policy issues; manages national partnerships and policy networks, including the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet Network; and is recognized as the nation’s leading expert on children’s cabinets and councils. Her writings include the YouthCount report, the Adding It Up Guide to Mapping Public Resources for Children, Youth and Families, and the Forum series of papers on state children’s cabinets and councils.

By the time she joined the Forum in 2005, Elizabeth had already built a career advocating for youth – a commitment that began when she spent seven years leading after-school and community-based programs for youth at the Atwood Community Center in Madison, Wis. She later served as youth policy analyst for Citizens for Missouri’s Children, a child and youth advocacy organization, where she lobbied state lawmakers, convened a youth development network and led the “Invest in Missouri’s Children” Campaign to secure tobacco settlement dollars for child and youth development activities.

A native of St. Louis, Mo., she attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison.