Are sex offenders hanging out with kids in our state?
A new audit shows addresses of four registered sex offenders match the addresses of four licensed and certified child care providers in southeast Wisconsin. State Senator Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) calls it every parent’s worst nightmare.
“Every parent shivers to think that this might be happening. And we must make sure that this program is absolutely tight, 100% assurance that this problem will never happen again.”
During an audit of Wisconsin Shares, the child care subsidy program, the Legislative Audit Bureau investigated cases of fraud, waste and abuse. The audit identified about $20-million in fraudulent claims had been made in 2008. It was that investigation that lead to the latest discovery.
“The evidence that was revealed today is the most disturbing.”
Vinehout is Co-chair of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, whose members will look at changing oversight and regulations in state policies to fix the program.
“It’s quite disturbing. It’s work that needs to be done. We need to get to the bottom of this. We need to figure out what went wrong in this program. We need to fix it. And we need to work fast.”
Department of Children and Families Secretary Reggie Bicha issued a statement saying “children were safe in each of the four cases identified,” because a sex offender was not living at the address. The co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Finance are asking Secretary Bicha to meet with them to address the many concerns about that agency. A final audit is expected to be done by the end of December.
NOTE: The Department of Corrections maintains Wisconsin’s Sex Offender Registry. Representative Tamara Grisby and Senator Bob Jauch, co-chairs on their house’s children and family committees, are drafting legislation requiring all child care providers to be background checked, and make it illegal for any sex offender to live there.