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May 1, 2016 11:51 AM

NH youth services agency facing reform following child deaths

CONCORD (AP) — The beating death of 3-year-old Brielle Gage in late 2014 shocked New Hampshire and shone a spotlight on the state's child protective services agency — one that's only grown more intense.

Roughly a year after Brielle died, 21-month-old Sadence Willott, of Manchester, was killed, prompting the city's police chief to slam the agency for failing to protect her. Both birth mothers are facing second-degree murder charges. And in a third case, a New Hampshire couple was sentenced for sexually abusing two young girls and recording it.

In all three cases, the Division for Children, Youth and Families had been involved, prompting intense scrutiny — and potential lawsuits — over how the agency works to protect children. Families and advocates are demanding accountability, lawmakers are pursuing reforms. The agency itself is seeking more resources.

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