A Bartow County infant will remain in foster care until his mother can, among other things, address her drug addiction, a juvenile court judge said Thursday.
When 8-month-old William Kaidyn Stover was kidnapped earlier this month, his alleged abductor, Samantha Barrett, led police on a wild and dangerous chase before wrecking the car stolen from the child’s mother, authorities said.
Days later, William’s mother, Kristen Howard, confessed that she had been using illicit drugs with Barrett, her friend, before Barrett took the car and the baby, and state officials took custody of the child.
Thursday, Bartow County Juvenile Court Judge Velma Cowen Tilley told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that William needed to remain in the custody of the state Division of Family and Children Services.
“We had a consent by the mother … we acknowledged that her child was deprived from her substance abuse, unstable housing and unstable income,” Tilley said.
William’s father, Dustin Stover, was not at the hearing because he is being held at the Caldwell Probation and Detention Center in southeast Georgia, court officials said.
A special hearing is scheduled for October to allow Stover to display his fitness to be a parent, Tilley said.
Barrett remains in the Henry County Jail on $20,000 bond for reckless conduct, child cruelty, fleeing or attempting to elude police and driving with a suspended license charges.
The 22-year-old Barrett also faces kidnapping and auto theft charges in Bartow County.
The judge said Howard has begun substance abuse treatment and parenting classes after undergoing a drug evaluation.
William is now in the care of a foster family selected by state officials, she said.
“In the meantime, Mom will be working on her issues,” Tilley said.