and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has begun an official inquiry into the death of Marchella Pierce, the 4-year-old malnourished girl who was found dead last week, and whether the city could have prevented her death.

In a letter to John Mattingly, head of the city's Administration for Children's Services, de Blasio suggests that the decision to cut back preventive services may have contributed to the Pierce's death. "The heartbreaking circumstances surrounding Marchella Pierce's death raise troubling questions about ACS's policies and practices and the possibility of systemic problems that could leave an untold number of children at risk," he wrote. The ACS has accused nonprofit organization Child Development Support Corporation (CDSC) of not adequately monitoring the case.

According to de Blasio, the city's number of active preventive cases fell by more than 2,000 families between April and July; that translates to more than 5,000 fewer children receiving preventive services. During this time, ACS ended its contract with CDSC. De Blasio wants ACS tto go back and review all those cases to determine whether they were closed properly. Yesterday, a Kings County grand jury voted to indict the girl's mother, Carlotta Brett-Pierce, on second-degree assault charges, with more charges possibly to come.