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DCS: Contracted employees may have falsified drug test results

Posted at 6:50 PM, Oct 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-30 11:32:26-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Department of Child Services said Thursday that contracted employees may have falsified drug-screening records.

Drug screenings are used for many types of court cases involving DCS, including juvenile matters, Child in Need of Services (CHINS), and termination of parental rights.

It’s not yet clear how many cases may be impacted or in which counties.

DCS discovered that drug-screening records may have been falsified by Tomo Drug Testing employees, which is a subcontractor of Redwood Toxicology Laboratory.

“DCS immediately notified Redwood and stopped all referrals,” Erin Murphy, spokesperson for the Indiana Department of Child Services, said in an email to WRTV Investigates. “Redwood is conducting a comprehensive audit and internal investigation to determine the impact on individual cases.”

The audit will be completed by mid-November, and DCS will work with individual courts and other impacted parties as appropriate, Murphy said.

Delaware County prosecutor Eric Hoffman expressed concerns in an October 29 letter to the chief public defender and members of the bar association and indicated that at least 2 contracted DCS employees lied about test results.

Hoffman said Delaware County Judge Kimberly Dowling held a Zoom call in which she said 100 Delaware County CHINS and/or Termination of Parental Rights cases and possibly juvenile delinquency cases could be impacted.

“It was reported that there is an issue with what is referred to as ‘voided screens,’” Hoffman wrote. “It was explained that a ‘voided screen’ means the person who was supposed to take the drug screen failed to appear to give a sample, and the court may or may not have considered that a positive screen and entered adverse orders to the party who allegedly failed to appear to give a sample.”

In his letter, Hoffman said he was told at least two employees of TOMO falsified documents in two scenarios.

“First, there have allegedly been instances where employees have falsely ‘scheduled’ drug screens however, the employees allegedly did not inform the person to be tested of the appointment,” read the letter. “The employees would then allegedly report that the person failed to appear for a drug screen. These employees of TOMO then allegedly falsified records indicating as such. Second, these employees of TOMO allegedly scheduled drug screens with people, the people appeared as requested to provide a sample, but the TOMO employees failed to appear to take the sample.”

These employees of TOMO then allegedly falsified records indicating that the person failed to appear to provide a drug screen, the letter read.

It was reported that this may have occurred between March and August of 2020, read the letter.

“Judge Dowling reported that there is no evidence to suggest that when a sample was collected and sent to the lab for analysis that there is anything flawed with the testing procedure or the results,” read the letter. “Rather, as described above, the issue is confined to instances where TOMO reported that the person failed to appear to submit a drug screen when, in fact, that was not true.”

These employees of TOMO then allegedly falsified records indicating that the person failed to appear to provide a drug screen, the letter read.

DCS spokesperson Noelle Russell said they wouldn’t know which counties are impacted until the audit is finalized.