Arizona Supreme Court denies petition to remove Navajo child from adoptive parents

PHOENIX - The Arizona Supreme Court ruled Monday that a Navajo child should remain with his adoptive family despite a petition that would make the child live with a tribal member he has never met.

The child, almost 3 years old, "deserves to live with the family with whom he has bonded," according to Attorney General Tom Horne.

"Since (the child's) placement in an adoptive home, he has bonded with his family and the courts have agreed that removing him to a tribal relative's home is not in his best interest," Horne said in a news release.

The petition was denied in this specific case because the child would "suffer severe distress" if he was taken from his current family and had been living in unsanitary conditions with his previous family after birth, according to court paperwork.

The issue arose when the child was adopted into a non-tribal home whereas Native Americans are to be placed with tribal members unless there is a sufficient reason otherwise, according to The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978.

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