MONTPELIER (AP) -- Vermont Human Services Secretary Douglas Racine says an independent panel is going to investigate the state's role leading up to the death of a 2-year-old Poultney girl.

Racine said Wednesday he'd spoken with the head of the Citizens Advisory Board who is planning to start next week looking at the role the Department of Children and Families played in the case of Dezirae Sheldon.

The toddler died last Friday two days after she was hospitalized with severe head injuries. Dezirae's stepfather is facing a second degree murder charge.

DCF had been involved in Dezirae's life, but Racine says privacy rules prevent him from providing details.

Gov. Peter Shumlin asked for the investigation.

Meanwhile, the state Senate is going to begin its own investigation into general child protection issues next month.