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Virginia McKale. (Photo: P.J. D’Annunzio/ALM)

Editor’s note: This is the first part of an occasional investigative series examining how children and families are impacted by problems in the Philadelphia foster care system, family court, and by insufficient legal representation. It is the result of numerous interviews with family members of foster children, lawyers and officials, and a review of state, city and court records.

The phone rang in Virginia McKale’s house, interrupting what had been an otherwise peaceful November evening with her husband and children in their Cherry Hill, New Jersey, home.

McKale approached the phone cautiously. It had been a difficult few months during the autumn of 2017—her two grandsons had been taken by the Philadelphia Department of Human Services from the custody of their mother, McKale’s stepdaughter, who struggles with heroin addiction on the streets of Kensington.

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P.J. D'Annunzio

Reporter at the Legal Intelligencer covering public corruption, federal courts, and breaking news.

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