ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) — A former DCS worker was fired and faces multiple felonies for allegedly falsifying child abuse records and obstructing justice.
Melisa Casteel, 39, was a Family Case Manager for the Allen County DCS from February 22, 2016, to September 3, 2018 before she was fired for falsifying case entries between early January and late August 2018, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Court records show Casteel was charged with one count of Official Misconduct and three counts of Obstruction of Justice, all Level 6 Felonies. She was also charged with five counts of Falsifying Child Abuse or Neglect Information or Records, a Class A Misdemeanor.
The Indiana DCS maintains electronic records for child welfare matters by entering data into the Management Gateway for Indiana Kids (MaGIK). DCS policy mandates monthly face-to-face visits with every child under DCS care that must include time spent alone with each child and a photo taken of each child during each visit.
This data is supposed to be entered into MaGIK within three days, and supervisors are notified when that does not happen, according to the affidavit. It says supervisors have found that entries can be made into the software that have little to no information in them that can act as placeholders and bypass the supervisor notification.
Casteel’s supervisor, Brad Hoover, transferred to the Allen County DCS office in March 2018 and began to notice several missing case entries from home visits, as well as some entries with minimal information. After an Allen County DCS investigation, they determined Casteel falsified several MaGIK entries, leading to her termination.
The affidavit outlines 11 individual cases with five children where discrepancies occurred, and Casteel later admitted to investigators that “a couple visits did not happen,” and multiple MaGIK entries were false and never occurred.
A hearing has been set for Wednesday, April 1, court records show.