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TribBlog: More Trouble In Foster Care

A teenage girl in foster care who collapsed at a Houston-area residential treatment center about a month ago has died.

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In today's Houston Chronicle, reporter Terri Langford, my partner in uncovering abuse at Texas foster care facilities, has a story about the death of a teenage girl in a residential treatment center:

The state's foster care agency revealed Wednesday that a 17-year-old girl who collapsed about a month ago at a residential treatment facility has died.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is investigating the death of Shanice Nibbs, who collapsed on July 16 while on a nature walk at the Five Oaks Achievement Center in New Ulm, about 72 miles west of Houston.

On Wednesday, agency spokesman Patrick Crimmins issued a news release notifying the media the teen died on Friday.

Reporters for the Houston Chronicle and Texas Tribune first contacted DFPS officials two weeks ago about the girl's collapse. At the time, the girl was alive in the intensive care unit at Texas Children's Hospital, and the agency offered no other details, citing the investigation.

An official with the governor's office confirmed that the agency notified them immediately of the incident and that they were aware that the agency had suspended all placements at the facility until an investigation was completed.

An official with the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, which conducted an autopsy, said the girl died of complications of hyperthermia. It is not known how long Nibbs had been at the facility, how long she has been in foster care, or if she had a pre-existing health condition.

Two months ago, the Chronicle and Tribune detailed how more than 250 serious incidents had occurred since 2008 at residential treatment facilities, where the state's most troubled foster care children are placed.

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