CHICAGO – In a story June 9 about an Illinois child custody case, The Associated Press, relying on story in The (Bloomington) Pantagraph, reported erroneously that the legal guardian of three children who were placed in state custody two years ago recommended to the court that their mother, Amanda Ware, be given another chance to raise them. The guardian only recommended that Ware be given the chance to continue working toward regaining custody.
A corrected version of the story is below:
Guardian: Mom linked to drownings deserves chance to work toward getting 3 kids back
The legal guardian of three Illinois children placed in state custody in 2014 after a doctor linked their mother to the drownings of three other children more than a decade earlier has told a judge the woman deserves the chance to keep working toward regaining custody of them.
CHICAGO (AP) — The legal guardian of three Illinois children placed in state custody in 2014 after a doctor linked their mother to the drownings of three other children more than a decade earlier has told a judge the woman deserves a chance to continue working toward regaining custody of them.
Carol Casey told a Cook County Circuit Court judge Wednesday that Amanda Ware has undergone mental health and substance abuse counseling and that her opinion is based on the interests of the children, who love their mother and want to go home.
Judge Demetrios Kottaras said he will rule Friday on whether the custody case should remain on a track to return the children to Ware and her husband within 12 months. In November, he called Amanda Ware an abusive and neglectful parent, noting her mental illness and history of drug abuse, and rejected her request to have the children returned.
Amanda Ware, then known as Amanda Hamm, was convicted of child endangerment and served five years in prison for watching then-boyfriend Maurice LaGrone Jr. drown her three children from a previous relationship in 2003 in Clinton Lake. Prosecutors said LaGrone, who is serving a life sentence, wanted to kill the children — a 6-year-old, 3-year-old and 23-month-old — because they interfered with the couple's relationship and his sex-and-drugs lifestyle.
The state took custody of Ware's current children in 2014 after a doctor recognized her.
In her report, Casey also had positive remarks for her Ware's husband, Leo Ware, who is receiving drug treatment after a relapse almost a year ago. The drug habit "is a challenge I think he should be given the opportunity to meet," Casey said Wednesday.
Prosecutors disagreed with her assessment, saying Ware and her husband haven't made substantial progress with treatment services and remain unfit, unwilling and unable to care for their children.
Assistant State's Attorney Gina Perdue also said the Wares have not dealt with the history of domestic violence and drug abuse that has impacted their family.
Lawyers for the Wares, who live in Chicago, said both have worked to complete services and visit the children almost daily in foster care, with attorney Stephen Dore pointing out she has been clean and sober for more than two years.
"The children adore him and wait for him to visit," said attorney Lisa Dedmond, who represents Leo Ware.
Information from: The Pantagraph, http://www.pantagraph.com