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Ex-DCS case worker gets 3 years of probation after pleading guilty to obstruction of a child abuse assessment

Elizabeth Funk worked in Bartholomew County
Indiana Department of Child Services
Posted at 1:45 PM, Aug 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-08 15:47:24-04

BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY — A former Indiana Department of Child Services family case manager in Bartholomew County will serve three years of probation and must pay $1,741 in restitution after pleading guilty to several criminal charges.

Elizabeth Funk pleaded guilty to ghost employment, a felony, official misconduct, also a felony, as well obstruction of a child abuse assessment, a misdemeanor.

Prosecutors alleged Funk documented she had face-to-face interviews with caregivers as part of child abuse and neglect evaluations that never took place.

Funk worked for the Bartholomew County DCS office in Columbus.

She was employed with DCS from May 2019 until the Department of Child Services terminated her on Jan. 29, 2020.

After her termination, DCS referred the case to the Indiana Office of Inspector General which launched an investigation.

The inspector general reviewed Funk’s smartphone and laptop, and conducted interviews with DCS employees and caregivers on Funk’s caseload.

In one example, Funk was assigned to investigate an allegation that a child identified as L.C. was a victim of neglect.

Funk substantiated the allegations of neglect and requested the child’s parents engage in an Informal Adjustment (IA), or written agreement stating what the parents must do to keep their child safe, court documents allege.

L.C.’s mother contacted DCS regarding inaccurate information Funk noted in the IA, including conversations with the child’s grandparents that never occurred, according to court documents.

The grandparents signed a statement affirming they did not have a face-to-face meeting with Funk on Jan. 6, 2020, even though Funk’s records reflected they did meet, court documents say.

“In total, Funk was paid for approximately 140 minutes of state working hours when she was not engaged to work on this case,” court documents say.

Documents filed by prosecutors outline similar allegations involving three other children.

In another case, Funk submitted a $16.86 travel voucher claiming travel from her DCS office in Columbus to Creekside Elementary School in Franklin and return.

However, school visitation records show Funk did not visit the school during the entire 2019-20 school year.

Prosecutors allege she falsely claimed travel expenditure for a trip she did not make and charged Funk with theft.

The Office of Inspector General interviewed Funk, who replied she had no clients in Franklin, court records allege.

Funk also told the Office of Inspector General that she had a heavy caseload during that time and it was not uncommon to be under pressure from DCS supervisors to close cases.

WRTV Investigates found out about the case while looking through reports on the Office of Inspector General’s website.

Funk’s attorney Alex Zimmerman said his client had no comment.

A spokesperson for Indiana DCS declined to comment as well.