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Foster Child Separated from Only Family She Knows Because of Indian Child Welfare Act

Update March 23, 2016

On March 21, Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services officials took Lexi from the Pages' home. On March 22, the Pages filed an appeal with California's Supreme Court. Their attorney, Lori Alvino McGill, requested that custody of Lexi be returned to the Pages until the appeal is decided. 

"We’ll keep fighting for her, keep fighting for what’s right," Summer Page told ABC News.

The Short of It

A Santa Clarita, Calif., family may have their foster daughter removed from their home because she is part Native American.

The Lowdown

A 6-year-old girl will likely be forced to leave the only family she has ever known after years of court battles. Rusty and Summer Page say Lexi is a part of their family. They love her and want to adopt her. But apparently love is not enough, because the little girl, who has lived with the Pages since she was 2, is 1.5 percent Choctaw. Yup, that's it.

So based on that, the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services decided Lexi would be better off living with a family in Utah who shares her Native American heritage, even though they aren't her biological parents. According to local news channel ABC 7, the reason has to do with the Indian Child Welfare Act, a federal measure from the '70s that aims to protect the best interests of Native American kids by promoting stability of tribal families.

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The Pages are heartbroken at the prospect of losing their foster daughter to people she doesn't even know. "It just tore us apart because to think that our child could leave for such a stupid thing," an emotional Rusty told ABC 7.

But the attorney appointed by the court for Lexi has a different take, saying, "Her family in Utah have been waiting to receive her for over 3 years; during that time, they have traveled to California monthly, and she has visited their home as well. The injustice here is not that she is leaving California but rather that her foster parents pursued litigation which prevented her from joining her family sooner."

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The Choctaw tribe had this to say about the case: "The Choctaw Nation desires the best for this Choctaw child. The tribe's values of faith, family and culture are what makes our tribal identity so important to us. Therefore, we will continue to work to maintain these values and work toward the long-term best interest of this child."

The Upshot

A crowd of family and friends delayed Lexi's planned removal from the home Sunday. ABC 7 reports the protesters were prepared to stay overnight in case the Department of Children and Family Services tried to remove the little girl before the foster family's attorneys go to the California Supreme Court today to file a stay.

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At this point, Lexi's fate is unknown. But here's hoping, ultimately, everyone involved does what's best for this child. After all, her well-being is far more important than politics, and I can't imagine how the fighting has already negatively impacted her.

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