Dramatic amateur video captured the moments when agents from California’s child welfare agency took 6-year-old Lexi Page into custody today, having taken her from her foster parents with whom she had spent most of her life. A March 18 court order required her removal after a judge concluded that Lexi’s miniscule Native American ancestry required her placement with relatives in Utah.
Lexi was removed because of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act that had been put into place to give Native American groups to take custody of children who can claim Native American ancestry. In Lexi’s case, she is believed to be of 1.5 percent Choctaw ancestry. Her biological father is of Native American ancestry.
When social workers arrived at the Page family home in Santa Clarita CA, Lexi was wearing a pink t-shirt and holding a teddy bear as foster father Rusty Page took her to the waiting vehicle. Her foster mother, Summer Page, was heard to scream hysterically and then call out, “Lexi, I love you!” The family’s supporters recorded the scene with cellphones. Some scolded the state bureaucrats who were taking the child away. Other prayed and sang Christian hymns.
The child was to have been removed yesterday, but crowds of family supporters apparently convinced authorities to try later.
Lexi had been with her foster family since the age of 2 years. She had been removed from her biological parent’s custody at the age of 17 months. A California court, however, determined that the family “had not proven by clear and convincing evidence that it was a certainty the child would suffer emotional harm by the transfer." The Page family had long sought to adopt Lexi. The couple has three biological children of their own. According to family attorney, Lori Alvino McGill, the Pages will appeal the decision to the California Supreme Court if necessary.
Little Lexi will be taken to Utah where she will live with the biological father’s relatives who are not Native Americans. According to the Children’s Law Center of California, which is Lexi’s court-appointed legal representative, she will join a sister living with the couple. Another sister lives nearby. Leslie Heimov of the Center said "The law is very clear that siblings should be kept together whenever they can be, and they should be placed together even if they were not initially together," according to the Daily News.
See Spero News coverage here
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