- Associated Press - Friday, June 10, 2016

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Latest on the custody dispute over a Native American girl who was removed from her foster home (all times local):

10:45 a.m.

Lawyers for a California foster family who gave up a 6-year-old girl with Native American ancestry have returned to court.

A state appeals court in Los Angeles heard arguments from both sides Friday over the fate of the girl, Lexi.

Attorneys for the girl’s former foster parents say it’s in her best interest to return to the foster family because she has developed a bond.

Representatives for the girl say a lower court made the right decision to reunite the girl with relatives in Utah.

The three-judge panel has up to 60 days to make a decision.

___

Foster parents who gave up a 6-year-old girl with Native American ancestry to her distant relatives are continuing their yearslong custody fight in a California court.

Arguments are scheduled Friday before a state appeals court in Los Angeles over the fate of the girl, Lexi.

She lived with Rusty and Summer Page of Santa Clarita for four years before being removed in a tearful parting in March. The Pages say they haven’t seen nor heard from her since then.

Her legal representatives say Lexi is thriving and happy.

The girl, who’s part Choctaw, was placed with extended family in Utah, where she also has sisters. She was placed under the federal Indian Child Welfare Act, which was passed in the 1970s to prevent the breakup of Native American families.

The Pages’ lawyer will argue that Lexi’s case meets a “good cause” exception to the placement preferences in the law.

However, observers have said the appeals court is unlikely to reverse the decision.

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