Protests unable to stop child’s removal from family under Indian Child Welfare Act

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Santa Clarita, Calif. - A foster family in Santa Clarita, California is heartbroken after the six-year-old girl they had been caring for was removed from their home on Monday.

Lexi Page has lived with the family for four years, but is now being sent to live with extended family in Utah under the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Clutched in the arms of her foster dad, Rusty Page, a dramatic scene unfolded outside their home as foster mom Summer and her children screamed in the background.

LA County department of children and family services agents, acting on a court order, removed Lexi from the only family she's known for the past four years.

"She's the happiest child you'll ever meet today," said Rusty. "Tomorrow... No. She won student of the month last month at school for how caring she is for people, and people don't return that favor to her."

The case involves a tribal custody battle that hinged on the Indian Child Welfare Act from the 1970s, aimed at protecting Native American children.

Lexi is 1.5 percent Choctaw, and has bounced in and out of foster homes since birth.

Even though her biological parents relinquished custody years ago, her extended family in Utah has been fighting for custody.

The Pages' attempts to adopt Lexi over the past several years have been unsuccessful.

"The county of LA always talks about how important it is to maintain consistency and permanence for children, and yet they violate that today. And it's gut-wrenching," said Rusty.

The pages tried to file a stay with the California Supreme Court, but not even prayers by hundreds of heartbroken community members who kept vigil could change Lexi's fate.

On Monday, the Choctaw Nation has issued the following statement about the child's 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 Page family issued a statement from their home after the little girl was taken away, which read in part:

Our family is so incredibly devastated. Our hearts are broken and we are trying to make sense of everything that has happened with our three other children who witnessed their sister Lexi forcefully ripped away from our family by strangers.

But nobody could possibly be more devastated than our 6-year-old daughter who found herself restrained in a car and driven away to go and live in a foreign place hundreds of miles from her family, friends, teachers, home and life.

Let me speak directly to the people who took our daughter and who have her now. Please search deep into your heart and soul and do what's best for Lexi. Do the right thing and bring Lexi back home. Do not keep her one more minute. Do not force her to spend one more night away from us and her siblings. Look her in the eyes and just ask her what she wants. She will tell you she wants to go home. I'm begging every American within the sound of my voice to help us bring Lexi back home.

9 comments

  • Fred

    This is truly sad, but we have to follow the law. If the laws are not working then we need to change them. I feel for the foster family and believe the child will probably not fare as well with extended family, but it’s not my call. In this case common sense is overruled by laws on the books.

  • Tammy

    Where was the “extended” family when a BABY was being bounced from foster home to foster home smh

  • Lisa Jean Wanie

    SHAME ON YOU CHOCTAW NATION. GIVE THIS CHILD BACK TO THE ONLY FAMILY SHE KNOWS. LAW OR NO LAW. CHILD WAS IN GOOD HANDS. WHERE WAS EXTENDED FAMILY FROM DAY ONE. DON’T TELL ME THEY WERE TRYING FOR 4 YEARS. BOGUS!!!!!!

  • Milwasukeewoman

    I say let her have the child but have her be part of the tribe as well since it is in her blood. Let her have the best of both worlds, A family and access to her tribal roots. Giver her 2 families.

  • melanie

    Only 1.5 percent Native American and she can be ripped from the only home she’s ever known because of some stupid, outdated law? My biological daughter is 20% Native American and she doesn’t even qualify for tribal benefits….. This poor family lost THEIR child…regardless of what some stupid piece of paper says. It’s heart wrenching.

    • Cookie

      First of all I have been a foster parent over 28 years. First thing you’re taught is don’t get attached the kids will or may go back to their parents or family so we already know that coming in the door. And if you read right it says the family has been fighting for the child and yes child welfare do play unnecessary games with these children welfare n keep them from their real family kids that need to be took they don’t take n some kids who shouldn’t be took they take child welfare is backwards n not always right. I know this for a fact my family is going threw the same thing we been trying to get my nephews for 3 years now. They say one thing and do another they lie and deceive you for years to come we have a lawyer and everything. It’s been a long ride and we are about to get them back and yes we are going to sue the pants out of child welfare for playing these games for 3 years making our nephews think nobody was fighting for them. So if you don’t know the whole situation you shouldn’t make negative comments and no matter what kids need to be with their real family who is fighting for them we as foster parents know the rules and have to follow them and yes it’s hard to let these children go because you get attached to them it’s not easy but just like its hard to us how do you think their biological family feels when they been fighting for years to get them back with family and they been lied to and deceived ( I’ll wait) exactly so think about what the biological family is going threw as well put urself in their shoes!!!!!!! And that’s why we have therapy to get the kids the help they need cause no matter what foster children needs therapy while with foster parents and when they return home or with family members… Thank you

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