The Secretary of the state Department of Children and Families says his department was created to take care of problems like those plaguing the Wisconsin Shares child care provider program. Reggie Bicha said his department has been working aggressively to change the program, by making critical reforms over the past year.
There was an “assumption that child care providers were going to be good business owners and do the right things,” when Wisconsin Shares was created in 1996, accordign to Bicha. “The neccessary controls that should have been in this program were never developed from the beginning,” he says.”We’ve done more in the last fourteen months to change this program, and cut out these loopholes, and to hold providers accountable, then has been done in the program since it was first created, and we’re going to keep going until the fraud ends.”
AUDIO: Secretary Reggie Bicha (1:00 MP3)
Among the reforms underway, says Bicha, is an automated attendance system, that will replace the current paper. Bicha says that will enable regulators and inspectors to determine if children enrolled in a child care center are actually in attendence.
More bad news for Bicha’s agency came Wednesday, as report by the Legislative Audit Bureau showed several addresses provided by register sex offenders matched those of child care providers in southeastern Wisconsin. That report is part of an ongoing audit of Wisconsin Shares.
WRJN’s Janet Hoff contributed this report