Darcy OlsenFounder & CEO
Darcy Olsen founded Generation Justice with a foster baby in her arms and a mission: to put an end to the bureaucratic failures, violence, and death she’d seen children suffer in our nation’s broken child protection system.
Generation Justice’s inaugural reforms passed in a bipartisan landslide and were in place to help 15,000 abandoned and abused kids before the organization’s first birthday. Now, in its second year, Generation Justice’s reforms have taken root in multiple states, reaching 30,000 kids.
Prior to founding Gen Justice, Darcy served as CEO of the Goldwater Institute. Among her achievements was spearheading the Right to Try movement, which started in Arizona and now gives all Americans with terminal illnesses a fighting chance at a longer life. With her seminal book, The Right to Try, as a bipartisan blueprint, 30 states adopted the law in rapid succession and paved the way for the passage of the federal law three years later.
In 2010, Olsen felt inspired to foster. The social worker told her, “We have newborns sleeping in offices...If you could open a crib, we’d be thankful.” She left the NICU cradling a drug-exposed baby girl; the first of ten she would take in.
In case after case, Olsen saw how predators receive more protection than their child victims. Criminals have the constitutional right to an attorney; kids don’t. Criminals have the constitutional right to a speedy trial; kids don’t. And while criminals have the right to a public trial, child welfare hearings routinely are held in the dark with records sealed, protecting public agencies from oversight, accountability and reform.
When Olsen announced the formation of Gen Justice, National Review declared, “Children could have no better guardian angel!” Gen Justice received the Arizona Capitol Times award for “Up and Comer” in 2018 and Olsen herself was named as a “Best Activist” honoree in 2019.
Olsen received the 2014 Bradley Prize from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation for her pioneering work vindicating constitutional rights in state and federal courts. She has testified before Congress, written for outlets from the Wall Street Journal to USA Today and has appeared on countless public affairs shows.
Darcy, a single mom, adopted her four children from foster care, now ages 7, 7, 5 & 2. People frequently ask if she has lost her mind. She assures you she hasn’t, but she could probably use an espresso.