Texas foster girl’s death raises questions

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The Associated Press

Posted on August 18, 2013 at 12:59 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 19 at 10:44 AM

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- The death of a toddler that Central Texas police say came at the hands of her foster mother has raised questions about the screening and training that one of the state’s largest child-placement agency gives foster parents.

Fifty-four-year-old Sherill Small is charged with capital murder in the last month’s death of 2-year-old Alexandria Hill. Police say Alexandria’s head had been smashed against the floor.

She was placed in Smith’s Rockdale home by Texas Mentor, the state’s No. 3 foster-care contractor.

Records show state licensing officials placed the contractor’s Arlington office on a six-month evaluation in February after 114 deficiencies or violations were found at 56 foster homes in the previous two years.

Company officials have disputed some of the state’s findings.

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