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Drug testing company says 2 employees fired after investigation involving DCS cases

Missouri based company calls it isolated incident
Tomo Drug Testing office in Indianapolis
Posted at 1:55 PM, Oct 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-30 19:17:46-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A drug testing company contracted by the Indiana Department of Child Services said Friday it has fired two employees following the company’s investigation that found workers falsified documentation.

As WRTV reported Thursday, DCS uses drug screenings for many types of court cases involving including juvenile delinquency matters, Child in Need of Services (CHINS), and termination of parental rights.

Tomo, based in Springfield Missouri, released a statement to WRTV Investigates calling it an “isolated incident.”

“Upon learning about allegations that a Tomo employee was falsifying phone and text documentation, we launched an internal investigation into all Tomo technicians in the State of Indiana,” read the statement. “Our internal investigation found a second employee was falsifying documentation and this information was turned over to the proper agency immediately.”

Tomo’s investigation found the employee’s intent was to cover a dereliction of work duties by inaccurately documenting that donors were contacted to drug test when in fact they were not.

“The investigation has not revealed any tampering with specimens,” read the statement. “Furthermore, Tomo believes this was an isolated incident as the investigation has not presented any additional findings that other technicians were falsifying documentation. Both employees in question were terminated immediately upon Tomo’s discovery of the issue.”

Tomo Drug Testing President Angela Garrison said they are fully cooperating with the investigation underway.

Tomo Drug Testing is a subcontractor of Redwood Toxicology Laboratory. Since 2015, DCS has used 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.

“We take pride in being involved in efforts that reduce substance misuse and promote healthy families,” said Garrison in an email to WRTV Investigates. “This type of situation is very unfortunate and not consistent with how our team compassionately works with donors every day. Tomo supports and believes in the important work of the Indiana Department of Children’s Services and programs like it.”

Per DCS policy, disposition or permanency of cases aren't solely based on the results of a drug screen.

Delaware County prosecutor Eric Hoffman expressed concerns in an Oct. 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.

Clients with concerns about their case are urged to get in contact with their local DCS office director.

FULL STATEMENT FROM INDIANA COUNCIL OF JUVENILE AND FAMILY COURT JUDGES

On October 23, 2020, Regional Counsels for DCS in two separate judicial districts confirmed with judges that DCS had received information that there were discrepancies in a number of drug test reports from Redwood Toxicology Laboratory.

Consistent with their ethical obligation under Rule 2.9(B) of the Code of Judicial Conduct, those judges immediately scheduled meetings to notify the prosecutors’ offices, guardian ad litems, CASAs, and the defense bar of the information received. Those meetings took place on October 27 and 28.

The Indiana Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges is working on a recommended proposed action plan for judicial officers who have Redwood drug tests offered for submission in cases.

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