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James McIntyre spent 5 years in Illinois's Foster Care System.

James McIntyre believes, “Who better to fix the system than those that have been through it.” He is a five-year veteran of foster care in Illinois. At 3-years-old, James was put into a home. This would be one of eventually 15 homes, in a two year period of time, in which James would ask himself “is this going to be the placement or are you going to pack your bags tomorrow?” Through the moves, he was separated from two of his sisters. His mission is to prevent sibling separation from happening to his peers coming up through the foster care system. Approximately 70 percent of children in foster care in the United States have a sibling who is also in care. All too often they cannot be placed together. This problem weighs heavily on the heart of Illinois Outstanding Young Leader, James McIntyre. He has done extensive research regarding sibling rights making sure that in Illinois youth are made aware of their rights as determined by state legislation. James is a college student with a double major in mass communication and social work and also is employed at a local IHOP restaurant. He believes his studies and passion to include the voice of youth in federal and state foster care decicions will lead to youth receiving the services they need. To that end, James holds leadership positions in several organizations including: Vice President of Parklands Queer and Ally Club, Presiding Officer for the Downstate Central Youth Advisory Board, Head Chair of Community Services for the Downstate Central Youth Advisory Board. James looks forward to the day when sibling visitation becomes a federal law instead of differing state by state. “That is my goal and all the youth in care should have a dream and that is my DREAM.”

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