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CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- The Legislative Audit Council will look into how the South Carolina Department of Social Services handles services for children.

The Post and Courier of Charleston reports (http://bit.ly/SatnLJ ) the council agreed Monday to an audit amid reports of children starved to the death, sexually abused and dying of illnesses that could have been treated. While the audit will look at a several concerns about DSS, the request focuses on child safety.

More than 30 concerned state Republican House members recently wrote the council and, among other things, asked if state and federal laws for child protection are being followed by local DSS offices.

DSS spokeswoman Marilyn Matheus says the agency was told Tuesday the audit will likely begin next year. She says DSS will cooperate fully.

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