Parents across Indiana expressed outrage after learning drug screen documents were allegedly falsified impacting cases with the Department of Child Services.
13 Investigates first broke the story Thursday about how the "falsified results" could have forced children to be wrongly removed from their parents.
The company at the center of the allegations is now answering some questions, as one mother who fought her way through the system alleges false reports are not new.
Jamie Ciechanowicz knows what it's like to be called a "no show" for a drug screen.
Hearing parents in nearly 100 DCS "CHINS" - short for Child in Need of Services - cases might have been kept from their children due to falsified drug screen records was heartbreaking and prompted her to come forward and speak up.
"It's disgusting the power they have," she told 13 Investigates. "These are people's lives."
For nearly a year, Jamie kept pictures, saved text messages and screenshots for proof. One of the dozens of texts she allowed 13 Investigates to review shows a complaint about an employee who was supposed to show up and take her test, failing to appear.
It was important, because visits with her own children were on the line.
"Writing me down for 'no shows' when they never reached out to me as early as October of last year. They put me down as a refusal. They said I refused the test," she added. "I was not even allowed to see my kids at all for the first two or three months."
It all started for Jamie after she was found in a ditch with her one-year old last year. Jamie said she had taken Xanax a day earlier. When police found her passed out, they also discovered alcohol in her system. She said she suffered from stress-induced heart failure and was hospitalized for five days.
Since then, she's worked hard to reclaim her place in her children's lives.
"I was complying 110%," she said, adding that the process with DCS is hard enough. In light of what's happened, she wants action against the workers falsifying information.
DCS told 13 Investigates it has stopped referrals to Tomo after learning of the breach in trust and alerted courts out of an “abundance of caution.” The state agency said, per its longstanding policy, decisions regarding the disposition or permanency of a case are not based solely on drug screen results.
DCS contracts with Redwood Toxicology to do the lab testing. Redwood Toxicology subcontracts with Tomo Drug Testing to schedule the screens and collect the specimens.
In a statement to 13 Investigates, Angela Garrison, president of Tomo Drug Testing, said, "Our investigation concluded the intent of the employee's actions were 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."
She goes on to say, "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..."
A DCS spokeswoman says the agency is conducting its own audit along with its contractor, Redwood Toxicology, to determine the impact on families and children. That review is expected to wrap up in mid-November.
DCS clients with concerns about their case should contact their DCS local office director. A directory can be found at this website.