A six-year-old girl has been removed from her foster family in California because she is part Native American.
Social workers arrived at the home of Rusty and Summer Page in Santa Clarita on Monday to remove the girl, named Lexi, so she can be placed with members of her family in Utah, according to reports.
Video footage showed the clearly distressed family as Lexi was taken away by authorities after the Pages lost a nearly four-year legal battle to adopt the little girl.
The decision to remove the girl, who is part Choctaw, was made under the Indian Child Welfare Act, which was established in the 1970s to keep Native American children with their biological families.
Speaking outside his home, Mr Page said the decision was an abuse of power by LA County officials and the Choctaw nation.
He said: “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 no one could possibly be more devastated than our six-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.
“The trauma and the terror that our daughter has been put through is unforgivable.
“It is life-changing tragedy that will scar Lexi and all of our family forever.”
Supporters gathered to pray outside the family home and sing Amazing Grace as Lexi was driven away.
Officials will send her to Utah where she will live with relatives of her biological parents, Fox 11 reported.
On Friday, an emergency stay which kept Lexi with the Page family was lifted by a court order.
Philip Browning, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, told KCBS: “Often there are no easy solutions, but when a court makes an order, we must follow it.”
The Choctaw Nation issued a statement which said it “desires the best for this Choctaw child”.
It said: “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.”
Court records show Lexi’s biological parents lost custody of her when she was 17 months old.
The Page family has vowed to fight to get Lexi back.
(c) Sky News 2016
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