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Judge orders baby raised by prominent couple returned to birth mother

March 8, 1999

CHICAGO (AP) _ A 3-year-old boy born with cocaine in his system should be taken from the politically prominent couple who have served as his foster parents and returned to his mother _ a recovering cocaine addict, a judge ruled today.

The state Department of Children and Family Services had recommended that ``Baby T″ stay with Appellate Court Judge Anne Burke and her husband, Alderman Edward Burke, one of the most powerful men in Chicago politics.

The boy has spent all but eight days of his life with the Burkes, and they had expressed interest in adopting him.

However, since the boy is black and the Burkes are white, Judge Judith M. Brawka held today that the state’s recommendation did not give enough consideration to the value of African-American culture.

The judge added that Baby T needs to be with his brother, who is also in foster care. The judge had previously ordered the brother also returned to their mother, Tina Olison.

The judge set a goal of returning Baby T to his mother within 12 months, but she warned Olison that both children could be taken away again.

``Just as your addiction lasted for years, I must tell you that this case may not close for a significant period of time,″ she said.

Olison, who is in her late 30s, sat silently throughout today’s hearing. The Burkes were not in the courtroom.

Olison successfully underwent treatment for her drug addiction and has sued to regain custody of Baby T and her older son, who is being cared for by a grandmother.

The state failed in November to have Olison ruled an unfit mother.

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