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AUSTIN (AP) – Lawmakers are examining a growing number of mentally ill children entering a Texas foster care system that a federal judge already has declared violates youngsters’ constitutional rights.

Convening Wednesday, a Texas Senate health committee also plans to scrutinize Child Protective Services’ tracking of abuse and neglect cases.

The hearing comes as a 17-year-old runaway from foster care is accused of killing a first-year dance major in the heart of the University of Texas at Austin campus.

Gov. Greg Abbott last week named a former Texas Rangers chief to lead the embattled state agency overseeing foster care.

A judge ruled in December that Texas’ foster care system is so broken that it often leaves kids in long-term care worse than when they entered. Two “special masters” were appointed to make improvements.

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