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Five children will not be allowed to return to their Meredosia home pending the outcome of their parents’ meth-related charges.

The parents in June admitted in juvenile court that their home’s environment was injurious to the children because of methamphetamine manufacturing and their own personal drug use, Assistant State’s Attorney Robert Bonjean III said. The children range from under 1 year old up to age 10.

“Both parents are unfit, unable and unwilling to care for and protect the children,” he said.

Dustin Cowick, 33, faces prosecution on six felony methamphetamine-related charges; Leslie Chaney, 28, faces three such charges. The most serious of the charges accuse Cowick of participation in the manufacture of one to two pounds of methamphetamine at his residence at 140 N. Washington St. while the children were present.

Cowick is the father of the three youngest children.

At a juvenile court hearing Thursday, custody and guardianship of the two older children were given to their biological father. Custody of the three youngest children was given to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

The parents were charged after an investigator for the child protection agency and Meredosia Police checked out allegations of domestic violence and drug use at the house in April. After remnants of a meth-cooking lab were found, the two oldest children were taken to their biological father and the three youngest children were taken to their grandmother.

Cowick and Chaney have pleaded not guilty and requested jury trials. They are to appear in court Aug. 3 for pre-trial conferences.

If the parents are found not guilty, Bonjean said, a goal of returning the children to their home will be set. If convicted, there will be a hearing in juvenile court to terminate parental rights, he said.

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