A state appellate court panel heard arguments Friday from attorneys for a Santa Clarita couple fighting to regain custody of a 6- year-old foster girl of partial Choctaw lineage who was taken away by social workers so she can live with blood relatives in Utah.
The girl, Lexi, was taken away from foster parents Rusty and Summer Page on March 21. The move was made under the federal Indian Child Welfare Act, which was enacted in the 1970s to help protect the interests of Native American children.
The Pages, however, have been continuing to fight for the girl, saying she became a part of their family in the more than four years she lived with them.
Dozens of supporters of the Page family showed up in downtown Los Angeles this morning, lining the sidewalk outside the courthouse and holding signs with slogans such as “Bring Lexi Home.”
“It’s so incredibly difficult to think about the number of days that Lexi has been without her family,” Rusty Page said after the hearing before a three-judge panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal. “It’s been 81 days to be exact. for 81 days, Lexi has missed being tucked into bed by mommy and me …
“We have repeatedly asked to speak with Lexi and have been cruelly denied,” he said. “Why? Because we spoke out. Because we promised Lexi that we would fight with everything we could to bring her home.”
Page expressed hope the court would allow Lexi to be returned to his home, and criticized a justice system in which it is “more important to uphold the law than to look out for the best interests of a little girl.”
The appellate court panel is expected to rule within about 60 days.
Officials with the Choctaw Nation have said previously they desire “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.”
—City News Service
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