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AUSTIN (AP) — More Texas foster children with mental or emotional problems have helped create a $20 million budget shortfall that could double by the end of 2017.

Department of Family and Protective Services Commissioner John Specia told a powerful state Senate committee that on Wednesday.

He also says the system is facing “too many child fatalities” even after state intervention. Senators vowed to repair the system, but some conservatives said more-efficient spending, not more funding, is the answer.

Senators vowed to do more to “repair this beleaguered system.” But top Republicans also suggested that the solution is more-efficient state spending – rather than pumping in new money.

A federal judge recently ruled that Texas’ foster care system is so broken that it often leaves kids in long-term care worse than when they entered.

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