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Founder & CEO

Darcy OlsenFounder & CEO

Darcy Olsen is an advocate for children, devoting her life to protecting the lives of abandoned and abused children. 

The seeds for the Center for the Rights of Abused Children were planted when Darcy felt inspired to foster. “We have newborns sleeping in social service offices,” the social worker told her. “If you could open a crib, we’d appreciate it.” So, instead of fostering a teen as she had planned, Darcy left the hospital cradling an infant with neonatal abstinence syndrome. In a few short years, she fostered nine more children and adopted four. 

In case after case, Darcy saw adults receive more protection and consideration under the law than their child victims. Adults have the constitutional right to an attorney; abused children do not. Adults also have the right to a public trial, speedy hearings, and due process; none of which are afforded to abused children. As one of the judges told the courtroom in a hearing for one of her foster children, “Mom’s rights are constitutional. The child’s rights are only statutory.” Darcy couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She knew that basic constitutional rights apply to all, even those with a diminished capacity to exercise rights, like young children.   

In 2017, Darcy founded the Center for the Rights of Abused Children to start advocating for change. The Center’s mission is to protect children, change laws, and inspire people. To date, the Center has impacted 650,000 children and counting. This means that for every $19.64 donated, one child is helped.  

The Center’s unique, pro bono, Children’s Law Clinic helps children and their families in their cases, providing free emergency legal assistance to children nationwide. New laws, sponsored by the Center, require mandatory searches for relatives and kin, immediate reporting of children missing from foster care, increased penalties for child predators, and securing the right of children to be represented by legal counsel.  

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has honored Darcy with its Adoption Excellence Award for her impact helping waiting children get adopted. And the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute named her an Angel in Adoption. She has been honored many times in her home state by the Arizona Capitol Times, including in 2023 with both the Non-Profit Leader of the Year Award and the Public Policy Leader of the Year Award.

Before launching the Center for the Rights of Abused Children, Darcy served as CEO of the Goldwater Institute. There, she wrote “The Right to Try,” leading a movement that resulted in a national law giving people with terminal illnesses the right to try investigational medicines. Darcy also initiated education savings accounts to give more children access to a wider range of schools. The scholarships created under her leadership became universal for all students in Arizona in 2022, creating the largest school choice program in the country. In 2014, Darcy received the Bradley Prize from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation for her work fighting for constitutional rights. 

Darcy is a graduate of the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and received her master’s degree from New York University. She has testified widely in state capitols and before Congress, lectured on children’s interests at Harvard Law School, written for outlets from the Wall Street Journal to USA TODAY, and appeared on countless public affairs shows. 

Darcy lives in Phoenix with her four children, all adopted from foster care. She is passionate about ensuring all kids have a loving mom to tuck them in at night and chores to protest. 



Darcy Olsen Featured on PBS

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