CLEVELAND -- In October, a local Cleveland State student gave the keynote speech at an all-star event in New York City to help abused and neglected children. He helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for foster children -- like he was.
This child advocate is now facing homelessness himself -- just months after being surrounded by some of the biggest names in show business. Dylan McIntosh never had a place to call home -- when he was just 3 years old he went into foster care. He was in numerous foster homes from Medina County to Cuyahoga County, changing schools 11 different times. At 18, Dylan was no longer a foster child -- he aged out without ever being adopted.
McIntosh has been a student at Cleveland State for two years now, and that's the longest he's ever been in one place. He was in 23 different foster homes as a child.
"I never had lasting relationships because I knew in less than a year I would be gone," says Dylan. That's why when he graduates from CSU he wants to work to change the foster care system. His advocacy even got the attention of the group Children's Rights, which helps abused and neglected kids. He was the keynote speaker in October at their fundraiser in New York City.
"I was on top of the world, and now I'm not sure where I'm going to live," says Dylan. He's been renting a room -- but being new to this, he just had a verbal agreement. He has to move out next week. He can't afford to rent an apartment and is now looking at homeless shelters.
"One of statistics is that 25 percent of foster youth end up homeless by their 25th birthday," says Beth Dawson of Foster the Soul Ministry. Each month in Cuyahoga County 15 to 20 kids age out of foster care. There are 700 kids right now who may not be adopted before aging out.
If you would like to help Dylan or other foster children who are aging-out of the system, go to www.thedevelopmentproject.org.