Gen Justice is standing up for Arizona’s most vulnerable children.
Founder Darcy Olsen launched Gen Justice in 2017 after witnessing the injustices facing children. While advocating for the rights of the terminally ill, she fostered ten infants. Her experience with the foster care system gave her first-hand knowledge of how the system impacts vulnerable children and how urgent the need was for change. “My foster daughter was in the fight of her life,” Olsen said. “I emptied my bank account to hire attorneys to give her a voice in court.”
Since then, Gen Justice has become a national leader in the push for making changes to the foster care system. “Hundreds of charities support children in foster care with items they need day-to-day like backpacks, clothing and school supplies,” says Olsen. “Gen Justice is unique in that we provide children with a ‘backpack of legal protections’ that gives them the safe futures they deserve.”
The group works with community leaders throughout the state and national leaders as far up as the White House to push for changes to policies to the foster care system. According to Gen Justice, their legal advocacy has impacted tens of thousands of children in Arizona and across the nation. This year, in 2021, Gen Justice was instrumental in the passage of Arizona’s Senate Bill 1391, which provides legal representation for every child in the foster care system. Children in foster care now have a legal right to an advocate who will protect their interests. That change alone could translate into a child’s case being resolved much faster, meaning they’re spending less time in the foster care system.
Gen Justice also fights for Arizona children on an individual level. They’ve provided free legal support to abused children, helping them get out of abusive homes to live with loving family members. Their advocates have reunited siblings separated by the foster care system and fought to find caring, adopted families for abandoned children. For their work, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded Gen Justice its Adoption Excellence Award in 2020.
In 2021, OneAZ Community Foundation awarded Gen Justice with a Together is Better grant. “Every gift adds up to help more children,” Olsen said. Grants like this translate into real help for children. Even the smallest sums can make an impact. As Olsen reminds us, just $30 will help feed a child or buy them a toy they can play with during a long court proceeding, while $100 can provide a background check to make sure a child is placed with a safe family.
While there’s been a lot of progress, Gen Justice is not slowing down in its advocacy. They’re fighting for vulnerable children across Arizona and the U.S. every day by continuing to push for reform throughout the system.
Learn more about how Gen Justice is working to help Arizona’s most vulnerable children at GenJustice.org.
OneAZ makes it easy for members to give back to the community through the OneAZ Community Foundation. Our charitable giving is based on our five pillars of support: Children’s Health, Food Banks, Financial Education, Veterans’ Interests, Local Youth Programs. To learn more about the OneAZ Community Foundation and the Together is Better grant program, click here.