54 Children’s Legal Rights Journal [Vol. 37: 1 2017]
that Alexandria would suffer extreme detriment.”314 It found that Lexi would likely recover
from the trauma of being removed from the Pages, and that the extent of her bond with them did
not supersede ICWA’s placement mandates.315
The Court of Appeal reversed, admonishing the trial court for requiring definitive
certainty of psychological damage before deviating from ICWA,316 and instructing the trial court
to consider Lexi’s individual best interests317 and the extent of her bond with the Pages.318 After
contentious efforts to obtain evidence, the trial court, in November of 2015, ordered Lexi
removed and placed with the Utah family.319 The Court of Appeal promptly vacated that order
on the grounds that the trial court had not complied with the terms of remand.320 Four months
later, the trial court held another hearing—although it refused to receive new evidence—and
again ruled against the Pages.321 On the morning of Sunday, March 20, 2016, Lexi was taken
from Pages and driven away to Utah. The suffering inflicted by separating Lexi from the Pages’
stable and loving home after four years can only have been extreme.322
314 228 Cal. App. 4th at 1336, 1352.
315 Id. at 1354.
316 Id. at 1353–54.
317 Id. at 1355–57.
318 Id. at 1337.
319 R.P. v. Superior Court, No. B268111, 2015 WL 7572569 (Cal. Ct. App. Nov. 25, 2015).
320 Id. at 1.
321 In re Alexandria P., 204 Cal. Rptr. 3d 617, 623 (Ct. App. 2016).
322 Fewer than 10 percent of foster children remain in foster care for four years. See Child Welfare Information
Gateway, Foster Care Statistics 2014 at 7, https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/foster.pdf. It goes without
saying that children in foster care who experience repeated separations often suffer emotional and psychological
strain, leading to problems with identity, stability, and fears of intimacy, and are at greater risk for delinquency. See
generally BENJAMIN KERMAN, ET AL., EDS., ACHIEVING PERMANENCE FOR OLDER CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN FOSTER
CARE (2009); Gina Miranda Samuels, Ambiguous Loss of Home: The Experience of Familial (Im)permanence
Among Young Adults with Foster Care Backgrounds, 31 CHILDREN & YOUTH SERV. REV. 1229 (2009); Mark E.
Courtney & Darcy Hughes Heuring, The Transition to Adulthood for Youth “Aging Out” of the Foster Care System,
in D. W. OSGOOD, ET AL., EDS., ON YOUR OWN WITHOUT A NET 68–91 (2005); Jimmy Mosqueda & Jennifer
Rodriguez, Voices Carry: Recommendations of Young People in the Foster Care System 10–12 (California Youth
Connection Policy Conference Report 2005); Joseph P. Ryan & Mark F. Testa, Child Maltreatment and Juvenile
Delinquency: Investigating the Role of Placement and Placement Instability 27 CHILDREN & YOUTH SERVS. REV.
227 (2005); Virginia L. Colin, Infant Attachment: What We Know Now at ii (U.S. Dep’t of Health & Human Servs.,