Milwaukee Early Care Administration (MECA) About MECA MECA is responsible for providing access to affordable, high-quality child care and early education experiences, to enhance the development of children, and to support their families in work and parenting roles in Milwaukee County. Our Mission Promote excellence in early childhood care and education in Milwaukee County. We know that access to affordable, high-quality child care enhances children’s development and the family's ability to work. Our staff works closely with the community to: Provide child care subsidy authorizations for working parents Support licensed and certified child care providers in Milwaukee County Train, certify, and monitor family providers Maintain the integrity of child care dollars in Milwaukee County Child Care Authorizations The Authorization Services Section completes child care authorizations for all Milwaukee County Wisconsin Shares recipients. The subsidy is issued directly to the regulated child care providers, on behalf of our participant's children, which helps defer some of the child care expenses our families incur while they are in an approved activity. We receive an average of 3,000 - 6,000 requests for child care authorizations per month and the normal processing time is 24-72 business hours. Provider Services The Provider Services Section in MECA consists of child care provider liaisons that are responsible for processing Wisconsin Shares payments for licensed and certified child care providers in Milwaukee County. The unit has responsibility for the following functions: Timely entry of attendance reports and processing of online attendance Assurance of accurate provider payments, including reconciliation of provider submissions Identification and prevention of fraudulent activity in the Wisconsin Shares Program Serves as a resource to child care providers by providing technical assistance and problem resolution Child Care Certification The MECA Certification staff certifies and evaluates child care providers in Milwaukee County to determine compliance with regulations established by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) in order to protect and promote the health, safety, and welfare of the children in day care homes serving six (6) or less children. Additionally, Certification staff monitors providers by conducting announced and unannounced visits four (4) times per year; reports findings of certified programs; and provides technical assistance to individuals involved in certified child care to improve professionalism, best practices, and quality. Client Program Integrity This unit's main functions are to prevent, monitor, identify, and enforce improper payments and fraud of the Wisconsin Shares program. This section investigates any potential claim of client fraud as it relates to the over-issuance of child care benefits due to agency error, client error, and intentional program violations. The vision of the program integrity unit is to: Achieve cost savings in the child care subsidy budget by reducing overpayments over time Shift from reaction to prevention of child care fraud and program abuse Project a positive image of the Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy Program to the public Results from an investigation do not always result in an overpayment, but possibly a reduction or denial of benefits. While the unit is committed to efforts of investigating all suspected fraud, there will be a new focus on prevention by providing education on the prevention of fraud.