Choctaw Nation Responds to Foster Couple in ICWA Case
A custody case over a 6-year-old Choctaw girl named Lexi that has been going on nearly five years has been settled after three separate court battles. The Choctaw Nation began the journey to reunite Lexi with her family in 2011. Lexi is now home with her extended family—where she is able to grow up with both of her biological Choctaw sisters.
From the very beginning of Lexi’s case, the goal was for Lexi to have a permanent home with her family. The foster parents were always aware that Lexi’s presence in their home was intended to be temporary, as is the nature of foster care. The foster parents were also always aware that Lexi’s case fell under the federal and California Indian Child Welfare Acts.
Lexi’s family made sure they were part of Lexi’s life, and they have a relationship with her. Each month, they made the long drive to see Lexi. Twice each week, her family had SKYPE visits with Lexi. In addition, Lexi has had extended visits in her family’s home in Utah. Lexi has a relationship with her biological sisters and she knows them as her sisters.
The tribe and the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services have been vilified and the facts of this case have been warped in an attempt to gain public sympathy for the foster family. This case is not about the foster family—but about a child’s long-term best interest—Lexi’s best interest.
Lexi—a child who should never have been subjected to the trauma of a media circus when the foster parents’ legal remedies were exhausted.
Lexi—a child who should never have had her rights to privacy and confidentiality violated.
It appears the foster family and their counsel are attempting to turn Lexi’s case into a political call to arms to dismantle ICWA. For the Choctaw Nation this case is not about politics. This case is about one of our children, one of our tribal members.
And regardless of tribal membership, Lexi should be allowed to live with her family, just as all children in any deprived case should.
The law requires Lexi be given the chance to grow up with her family, with her sisters. The California courts, time and again, found that Lexi should live with her family. The Pages have done nothing but delay Lexi’s reunification with her family.
Despite all the delays, the Choctaw Nation can report that Lexi is safely home with her loving family and her sisters, and she is doing well.
The Choctaw Nation is grateful that so many people are interested in Lexi’s wellbeing, and hope everyone continues to look at both sides of Lexi’s case. We also request that each of you respect this young child’s right to privacy.
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