ICWA Lexi Case Update

Abstract: Last Friday, a California Court of Appeals affirmed, upon its third review, a lower Court’s decision to place an American Indian child named Lexi, an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, with her extended family in Utah. The court’s decision is an affirmation of the fundamental principles of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), that the preference for placement with family members is strong and is in the best interests of children, and that good cause to deviate from those preferences should be found only in unusual cases, not through application of a generalized “best interest” standard.

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