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Mom Who Left Son at Taste Gets Probation

By Laura Oppenheimer in News on Dec 19, 2006 8:30PM

Marie Campbell, the mother who abandoned her son at last summer's Taste of Chicago, received two years' probation on Monday. Though prosecutors sought prison time for the 29-year-old, the defense argued she should receive probation, noting her crime-free past. Cook County Judge Dennis Porter agreed.

2006_12_TOC.GIFLast summer, after taking her son to the annual food festival, Campbell told her 6-year-old son to go to the "lost children" tent. At the end of the day, when she didn't return, the media picked up on the story, and Campbell turned herself in the following weekend. She told police she was having trouble dealing with her son's learning disabilities.

Campbell has been in jail since her July arrest. Bail was originally set at $200,000 and then reduced, but Campbell still wasn't able to afford bail, and so she has been in custody ever since. As for her 6-year-old son who was left to fend for himself at the Taste? He has been in foster care since July. When we originally wrote about this story, we wrote that it was "too sad for words."

And it is incredibly sad, both for Campbell and for her son, who has now become a part of the dependency system. While this case is high profile due to the unusual circumstances in which the 6-year-old was entered into foster care, he is just one of many children — 16,593 in 2006 as of September — that are in substitute care under the Department of Children and Family Services. These kids, for the most part, haven't done anything wrong. Especially during the holiday season, we hope that 2007 brings them the families that they deserve. For more information about volunteer opportunities working with kids in the foster care system, visit the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Cook County website.