James McIntyre spent 5 years in Illinois's Foster Care System.
James McIntyre’s life was not like that of most other children growing up in Illinois. When he was just 5 years old, he was removed from his biological family’s home and put into the foster care system. From that day on, James’ life was the journey of one state funded program after another.
At the age of 7, James was adopted into a family in Illinois. For a couple of years, the adoption was working, until one day the adoptive parents became abusive. He lived in that environment for about 6 years. Fortunately, he went to live in a treatment facility where he learned to speak up for himself and others that live in the foster care system. After “aging out” of the system at the age of 19, James moved downstate to get his degree in Communications at which time he served as the Downstate Vice President, and then President, of the Central Region Youth Advisory Board. While on the board, James worked with the director of DCFS and other DCFS leaders advocating for the next generation, making the way for these wards to succeed in adulthood. He later served as the Statewide Vice President of the Youth Advisory Board where he met with multiple lawmakers advocating for a law that keeps siblings in contact after the separation of adoption. He later earned enough support to pass that bill.
James continues advocating for foster wards that are leaving the state’s care. He also goes back to the place that showed him that he had a voice and volunteers his time on various fundraising committees. James strongly believes that the state must focus on those that they promise to take care of. He continues to show that he cares about the next generation by working at a Chicago based non-profit called Struggling Youth Equals Successful Adults and working with the state legislators on addressing Illinois rising number of emancipating young adults.