NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York City’s public advocate says children are spending too much time in the city’s foster care system and between multiple homes.

Letitia James conducted a survey by setting up a hotline for foster parents, birth parents and children, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported. She called the findings “disturbing.”

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Fifty-seven percent of respondents said a child had been placed in more than one foster home, James said. Of those children, more than a quarter spent time in five or more placements, according to the survey.

The public advocate said 71 percent of those surveyed said children spent more than two years in the system.

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James’ survey also found a significant number of reports of physical, emotional and psychological abuse.

“Thousands of children in our foster care system have been allowed to languish for years on end in abusive, unhealthy situations,” James said.

She said it’s clear the Administration for Children’s Services needs to be significantly reformed.

An ACS spokesman said the city has reduced the number of children in foster care from 45,000 in the 1990s to 11,000 today. He said the drop was largely due to the agency working to keep families together.

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