Nazi-named children should stay in foster care, says appeals court

By Calvin Palmer

A state appeals court today ruled that the New Jersey couple who gave their three children names with Nazi associations should not regain custody.

State Division of Youth and Family Services removed Adolf Hitler Campbell and his two younger sisters, JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell and Honszylynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell, from their home in January 2009 and placed them in foster care.

A month earlier, the family, from the Holland Township, gained public attention following a supermarket’s refusal to decorate a birthday cake for their son.

A family court had earlier determined there was insufficient evidence that the parents had abused or neglected the children. That ruling was stayed until the appeals court could review it.

Today, the three-judge appeals panel determined there was enough evidence and that the children should not be returned. The case was sent back to family court for further monitoring.

The parents, Heath and Deborah Campbell, have been restrained from giving comments.

The incident regarding the birthday cake was never mentioned at today’s hearing. The court found that several other reasons that proved the need for continued protection services for the children.

According to court records, both parents are unemployed and both suffer from unspecified physical and psychological disabilities.

Both parents were themselves victims of childhood abuse and neither of them “has received adequate treatment for their serious psychological conditions”.

Heath Campbell, 37, cannot read and Deborah Campbell dropped out of high school before finishing the 10th grade, according to court records.

The panel found the parents “recklessly created a risk of serious injury to their children by failing to protect the children from harm and failing to acknowledge and treat their disabilities” and concluded that “evidence of prior domestic violence committed by defendant-father against his ex-wife and the two children of a prior marriage was admissible in this case to prove the risk of harm to these children”.

Their decision sides with the argument that the children’s legal guardian and DYFS made after the trial judge agreed to return the children – now aged two, three and four — to their parents.

The guardian and DYFS also insisted that the trial judge failed to properly consider the letter the mother wrote in December 2008 saying that if anything happens to her, “please” conduct an autopsy because her husband did something to her.

“We hold that evidence from the ex-wife was admissible to prove that defendant-father was a risk of harm to his children and that defendant-mother’s denials of her husband’s history of violence also made her a risk of harm to the children,” the judges wrote.

The family made headlines when a ShopRite supermarket in Greenwich, near the family’s home in Holland Township in west-central New Jersey, refused to decorate a birthday cake with their son’s name.

The cake was eventually decorated by a Wal-Mart store in Pennsylvania, across the Delaware River, but the resulting publicity put the family under media scrutiny.

[Based on reports by the Associated Press and The Star-Ledger.]

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