James McIntyre entered into the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services at the age of 5 with his four other sisters. During this process, James remembers being placed and separated from his siblings until he was adopted with two of them. At the age of 7, this family turned abusive and started to torture James daily. If the physical and emotional abuse was not enough, James was sexually abused every night in that house. James left that house by advocating for himself. After his adopted parents failed at getting him institutionalized, they gave up their parental rights. Just then went from one group living placement to another. During this process, James was once again sexually assaulted in many of his placements due to his sexuality. At the age of 18, James became involved in the Illinois DCFS youth advisory board, where he started his advocacy. During that time, James played a crucial role in ensuring siblings are allowed to see each other. After aging out at 21, James and three other alumni formed the Foster Care Alumni of America Illinois Chapter. And for the last five years, he has to lead the chapter in growing membership and carving out a place in the Illinois Legislator for youth in care and Alumni to have a significant influence on legislation. Some of that includes youth bill of rights, better foster parent licensing, changes to the abused and neglected child reporting act, and many others. James has also fought for better legal protection for unaccompanied minors who have ripped away from the parents at the southern border, calling in a complaint of abuse leading to a statewide investigation. After five years of leading this Chapter, James stepped down and now serves as a child welfare consultant in Illinois.

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