- Associated Press - Friday, October 2, 2015

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - The state of New Hampshire will perform an independent review of its child protective services agency after the death of a Manchester toddler.

Twenty-one-month-old Sadence Willott died Sept. 6, a day after police were called to her home and found her unresponsive. Her mother, 22-year-old Katlin Paquette, has since been charged with second-degree murder.

The attorney general’s office began reviewing the Division of Children, Youth and Families’ handling of the Willott case and others after police investigating the death raised concerns about the state’s Division of Children Youth and Families, and later recommended the state pursue a thorough, independent investigation.

“Our preliminary review of Sadie Willott’s death and other homicide and assault cases raised significant concerns about DCYF’s prior contacts with those families,” said Attorney General Joseph Foster. “We welcome the assistance of an outside expert to conduct a review and determine what steps can be taken better assure the safety and security of New Hampshire’s smallest and most vulnerable citizens.”

Gov. Maggie Hassan said Friday that the agency’s handling of specific cases will be examined, as well as its staffing, training, caseloads and procedures.

“And as findings and recommendations come forward, we will implement them as soon as possible,” she said.

The attorney general’s office also will make recommendations to a legislative commission that has been looking at how to improve state laws to better protect children.

Nick Toumpas, commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the division, said the department will cooperate fully.

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