SANTA CLARITA (CBSLA.com) — Department of Children and Family Services agents on Monday removed a 6-year-old child named Lexi from a Santa Clarita foster home.
Dozens of friends and neighbors of the foster family were holding vigil at the house calling for the girl to remain with her foster parents. The girl is expected to be placed with relatives of her father in Utah under a federal law created to keep Native American children with Native American families.
Many family members and friends of the foster family said they were disappointed and saddened by the events.
“I don’t know how to put it into words. I wanted to take her out of the car but we’re being respectful,” said Summer Page’s sister, Katie Kelley. “I can’t imagine what she’s feeling right now.”
A lawyer representing Lexi from the California Children’s Law Center said she going to a family with whom she’s had monthly visits and with which she has a loving relationship. The family includes Lexi’s sister.
Still, Rob Bethke said he stands with the Pages because he and his wife lost Native American twin toddlers they fostered for two years.
“It was the darkest period of our lives,” he said. “Our family, we were in therapy afterwards.”
Philip Browning, the director of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, released the following statement:
“I want to assure the public that my Department will continue to act in the best interest of the children we serve and remain in compliance with the court orders and laws governing our work. I am also aware that sometimes the court must make orders that involve resolving competing priorities and interests. Often there are no easy solutions, but when a court makes an order, we must follow it.”
After Lexi was driven away in the backseat of a sedan, some friends and family lingered in the neighborhood to sing “Amazing Grace.”
Rusty Page said he planned to appeal the case and continue fighting to get Lexi back.