The U.S. Supreme Court reported Monday that it will not hear the case involving a former Santa Clarita child with Native American ancestry who was removed from a foster home in Saugus and placed with relatives in Utah.
The decision puts an end to the legal tug-of-war over 6-year-old “Lexi,” which gained media attention last March when her foster parents, Rusty and Summer Page, went public in their opposition to the child’s impending placement with with her relatives, a move that had been planned in 2011 before Lexi came into the Pages’ care.
Two lower courts and the California Supreme Court denied appeals last year to keep Lexi with her foster family.
According to court documents filed with the U.S. Supreme Court by Lexi’s own court-appointed attorney, Christopher Blake, “The minor is satisfied with her current adoptive placement; it is in accord with general principles of California law and with the principles of (the Indian Child Welfare Act), both federal and California. There is simply no need for this court to intervene and upset this adoptive placement to which the minor, her tribe, the agency responsible for her care and custody and her parents, have all agreed.”
Blake also states that both the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services and the Choctaw Tribe of Oklahoma, in which is Lexi is eligible for enrollment, have chosen Lexi’s relatives in Utah, “and that selection was made before (the Pages) ever assumed any care for the minor, and they were always aware of that fact,” adding that state law “strongly favors relative placement and placement with siblings for dependent minors.”
In a statement released Monday on the “Save Lexi” Facebook page, the Page family wrote: “To say we are heartbroken is an understatement. … We will continue to advocate on Lexi’s behalf. We are her parents and will never give up on her. Our home will always be her home, and we know that one day we will be able to hold her in our arms again. One day she will know how many people fought for her. Lexi, we love you forever and ever.”
“The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear the appeal in Lexi’s case. This means the former foster parents have exhausted their appeals, and Lexi can now remain permanently with her sister in the home of their extended family,” said DCFS Public Affairs Director Armand Montiel. “We are satisfied with the Supreme Court’s decision.”
An article by Charlie D. Clark of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, published Jan. 11 in Native Times, states: “The Choctaw Nation is pleased that this lengthy and unnecessary litigation has been brought to an end by the U.S. Supreme Court. Lexi can remain where she belongs, with extended family that will raise her and a sister in the Choctaw tradition. The attorneys who brought the case to the high court made clear from the beginning their goal was not only to remove Lexi from her Utah family, but to overturn the Indian Child Welfare Act. They failed to do so, and the ICWA will continue to protect Native American children’s rights to family and cultural connections.”
Statements from other parties involved in the case will be added to this article as they become available.
Attached are briefs submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court by all parties: