AUSTIN, Texas -

(AP) - Stronger vetting of prospective foster parents in Texas is likely following the beating deaths of two young foster children last year.

The Dallas Morning News ( ) reports that new state rules expected to take effect in September include mandatory interviews with neighbors and additional family members.

The Department of Family and Protective Services has acknowledged an "alarming increase" in foster deaths linked to abuse or neglect. Eight foster children died from maltreatment in 2013 - a fourfold increase from the previous year.

Texas has 220 foster care contractors statewide. Other new rules aim to increase the odds of identifying adults who have a propensity for violence and are likely to be around a prospective foster home.

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