By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia woman is asking Family Court to award her custody of her nieces in a case that her advocates say shows the city is biased against poor women.

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City officials deny the charge, but the case highlights how complicated child custody decisions can be.

A small group gathered outside Family Court to support Carolyn Hill. Hill took her nieces when their parents lost custody of them, but she lost custody and supporter Phoebe Jones says Hill was told it was because she had no high school diploma or GED.

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“We feel that there’s a lot at stake here for a lot of families,” Hill says, “and for these two girls and their aunt.”

DHS is prohibited from talking about specific cases, but a spokeswoman says the department doesn’t consider GED status when making custody decisions. She says the department changed the way it makes decisions, three years ago, and foster placements have dropped 30 percent.

Family reunification is the goal, but the case of 6-year-old Kalil Wimes shows there’s no magic formula. Wimes died in March, after being returned to his parents. They’re charged with his murder.

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