Public advocate probes child death

(AP) - New York City's public advocate has begun aninquiry into whether the death of a 4-year-old girl could have beenprevented.Among other things, Public Advocate

NEW YORK - (AP) - New York City's public advocate has begun aninquiry into whether the death of a 4-year-old girl could have beenprevented.

Among other things, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio wants to knowwhether a decision to reduce family services contributed to theSept. 2 death of Marchella Pierce.

Prosecutors allege Marchella was beaten. Police said sheappeared severely underweight and may have been tied to a bed. Shewas born with lung problems.

A Brooklyn grand jury has indicted her mother on second-degreeassault charges.

The Administration for Children's Services ended its contractwith the organization that aided the family. De Blasio says thatbetween April and July, about 5,000 fewer children were receivingpreventive services.

The ACS is also reviewing the case.

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