Gen Justice defends the rights of drug-exposed, abandoned and abused children through its pro bono Children’s Law Clinic and reforms the child protection system to prevent further injustice. Our mission is to make sure every child has the full protection of the law.
Gen Justice’s inaugural reform package passed in a bipartisan landslide and was signed into law before its first birthday. The law requires courts to expedite children’s cases in instances of extreme abuse and to move drug-exposed infants into safe families more quickly. The law has already been used successfully to protect young children.
Darcy Olsen founded Generation Justice in 2017 after an award-winning, 20-year career in public policy.
But the seeds of Generation Justice were planted in her mind years earlier when she left the hospital cradling an abandoned, drug-exposed newborn as a foster parent. In a few short years, she had mothered seven children. Six beat the odds. Olsen founded Generation Justice for the one who didn’t.
An expert on constitutional law, it didn’t take long for Olsen to identify the root problem in child welfare. In a nation governed by a Constitution that provides equal justice for all regardless of race, gender, religion or social standing, children were notably missing.
As a judge in one of Olsen’s hearings put it: “I’d like to remind everyone that the offender’s rights are Constitutional; the baby’s rights are only statutory.”
In case after case, Olsen saw how the criminally accused have greater legal protections than the children they victimize. Criminals have the right to a speedy trial; children don’t. Consequently, infants routinely wait four or five years for a permanent family, and some will spend their entire lives in the system. Criminals have the right to an attorney; children don’t. And while criminals have the right to a public trial, child welfare hearings routinely are conducted in the dark and records sealed, protecting public agencies from oversight, accountability and reform.
The founding team of Gen Justice and its supporters across the nation believe that children deserve better than second-class rights. Please join our mission toward legal justice for children.