SCV News | Six-Year-Old Removed from Foster Family Despite Protests
While a petition to keep a 6-year-old part-Native American girl in the home of her foster family garnered thousands of supporters, Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services relocated Lexi Monday afternoon.
Lexi was removed from her foster parents, Rusty and Summer Page, at about 3 p.m. and will reportedly be relocated back to her extended family in Utah.
The Page’s began the Keep Lexi Home petition after losing an appeal to deviate from the Indian Child Welfare Act, an act that aims to keep American Indian Children with American Indian families.
The petition can be found here: https://www.change.org/p/keep-lexi-home
A GoFundMe account was set up to help the family offset legal costs: https://www.gofundme.com/xrvswuv6
A copy of the appeal can be found here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/archive/B252999.PDF
Lexi is 1.5 percent Choctaw and was removed from her biological parents at 17-months-old because of her mother’s substance abuse and her father’s extensive criminal history. Lexi has lived with the Page’s for the past four years.
After reunification efforts with Lexi’s biological father failed, the ICWA, the Department and the Choctaw Nation felt that Lexi should be placed with extended family in Utah whom she had met and had a relationship with.
It was around this time that the Page family, who had been caring for Lexi, decided to apply for adoption for Lexi.
When the appeal was turned down Friday, friends, family and community members rallied in support for the Page family at the corner of Ron Ridge Drive and Pamplico Drive.
Local leaders and lawmakers issued statements about the turn of events with Mayor Bob Kellar stating, “ It seems virtually impossible to imagine taking a 6 year old child from the family that she has lived with, virtually her entire life. Our thoughts and prayers are with this Santa Clarita family as they are bravely navigating through the system and working to keep their foster child.”
The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma issued a statement saying the foster family was aware of the goal to place Lexi with her biological family and her placement with them was delayed by ongoing opposition by the Pages.
“From the beginning of this case, the Choctaw Nation advocated for Lexi’s placement with her family. Lexi’s family was identified early on, and they have created a loving relationship with her. The Pages were always aware that the goal was to place Lexi with her family, and her permanent placement has been delayed due to the Pages’ opposition to the Indian Child Welfare Act.
“We understand the public’s concerns for Lexi’s well-being as this is our main focus, but it is important to respect the privacy of this little girl.
“We believe that following the Choctaw Nation’s values is in Lexi’s best interest. The Choctaw Nation will continue to uphold these values, and advocate for Lexi’s long-term best interest.”
Representative Steve Knight said, “The Page family and their struggle is very concerning to me, and my heart goes out to them at this dark hour. While this issue must be handled primarily by the judicial system, my staff and I will stay in close contact with the family to provide any support and information possible.”
Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich issued the statement:
“As with any child, we want the best for her and to ensure her safety and well-being. Los Angeles County and the Department of Children and Family Services is required to uphold the decisions of the judge in Dependency Court and the requirements of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). ICWA is a federal law passed by Congress in 1978 which sets federal requirements that apply to all local child custody proceedings involving an Indian child who is a member of or eligible for membership in a federally recognized tribe. We will continue to work with the Department of Children and Family Services and our County Counsel to ensure Lexi’s well-being.”
Senator Sharon Runner’s spokeswoman issued the following statement on behalf of Runner:
“This is truly a devastating situation. Senator Runner has long been a strong supporter of adoptive and foster families, advocating for them on both a personal and policy level. Her number one concern in these situations is always what is best for the child. Unfortunately, the law governing Lexi’s case is a federal law that Senator Runner does not have jurisdiction over. However, she is following the situation closely, as is her staff, and she supports any action that values Lexi’s needs above all else.”©2016 SCVTV