Gailyn Thomas

Policy Fellow

Gailyn Thomas is a Policy Fellow at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. Thomas has more than 25 years of executive-level experience creating and directing successful programs and initiatives within state and city government. She also has a strong background in child welfare, child protection, and juvenile justice. At Chapin Hall, Thomas will focus her efforts on child protection and child welfare best practices.

Prior to coming to Chapin Hall, Thomas was the Social Services Deputy Director in Virginia Beach, VA, where she was responsible for child welfare, adult protective services, juvenile detention, public assistance, community corrections and pretrial and emergency preparedness. Before that, Thomas was responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of a statewide aftercare program for the Department of Juvenile Justice in Illinois. Prior to this, she was with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) for over 14 years, where she was responsible for the statewide Division of Child Protection. Other positions that she held at DCFS were Assistant Chief of Staff, Child Protection Manager, and Supervisor. In addition to her program development and leadership experience, Thomas is experienced in grant administration, policy development, and community relations.

Thomas holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work at Xavier University of Louisiana and Master of Social Work from Washington University School of Social Work in St. Louis, MO. She has completed two years in a Doctorate program at the University of Illinois School of Social Work, in Chicago. In 2016, Thomas became a Fellow of Georgetown University’s Center for Juvenile Justice Reform.

Master’s Degree in Social Work, Washington University School of Social Work

Bachelor of Arts in Social Work, Xavier University of Louisiana