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Founder & CEO

Darcy OlsenFounder & CEO

Darcy Olsen founded the Center for the Rights of Abused Children with a foster baby in her arms and a mission to help children grow up safe and loved.  

The seeds of the Center were planted when a social worker told Olsen that city shelters were overflowing with newborns due to the opioid epidemic. It was a call to arms she couldn’t ignore. In just a few years, Olsen took in ten boys and girls… and witnessed firsthand the system’s repeated failures, including sibling separations, prolonged cycles of entry and re-entry, and premature deaths. 

The Center’s unique Children’s Law Clinic offers free legal help to children. Beyond direct support, the Center also influences state and federal policies to improve the lives of children in foster care. Thanks to the Center, new laws ensure thorough searches for relatives, more stable placements, better education, less aging out, and more essential legal protections, including the right to an attorney in important proceedings. So far, the Center has positively impacted 650,000 children. 

Olsen’s impact has garnered national acclaim. She received the Adoption Excellence Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for helping waiting children find families. The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute also named her an Angel in Adoption. Back home, the Arizona Capitol Times has honored her multiple times, naming her Non-Profit Leader of the Year (2023), Public Policy Leader of the Year (2023), and Arizona’s Best Non-Profit Leader in 2024.

Before founding the Center, Olsen directed the creation of Arizona’s empowerment scholarship accounts and wrote The Right to Try, spearheading the national movement to give terminally ill patients access to investigational medicines. For her leadership in these critical areas, Olsen received the honorable Bradley Prize. 

Olsen graduated from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and earned her master’s degree from New York University. She has testified and lectured on children’s interests at Harvard Law School, in state capitols, and before Congress. Widely published, Olsen has also appeared on numerous public affairs podcasts and shows. 

When she’s not being CEO or mom to four, you’ll find Olsen enjoying Fry Bread, popping into hot yoga workshops, or binge-reading with an Americano. Olsen and her four children, all adopted from foster care, have a rescue dog, a rescue cat, and a PetSmart hamster who often needs rescue from all of them. 



Darcy Olsen Featured on PBS

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