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 to parents on a monthly basis via the MyWIChildCare EBT Card. Parents make payments directly to providers using the EBT card and out-of-pocket payments in person, online, or over the phone, based on the payment agreement with their providers. 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. Parent-Provider Services Parent-Provider Services within MECA consists of two Parent-Provider Liaisons that are responsible for being a resource for parents and child care providers. These positions where created to enhance and promote parent education regarding Wisconsin Shares, inclusive of navigating the process from application through authorization and resolve parent concerns. Parents and child care providers can get additional program support as needed. Parent-Provider Liaisons are responsible for the following functions: Parent education regarding Wisconsin Shares. Provide technical assistance and training to parents and providers regarding use of web-based systems, operational memos, and policy and procedure manuals. Act as a resource to parents in assisting with access request to the Parent Portal, online entries, troubleshooting issues and navigating the Parent Portal system for their child care services. Act as a resource to providers in assisting with access request to the Provider Portal, online entries, troubleshooting issues and navigating the system that involves entering rates or changes made in the Provider Portal system. Implement and conduct training for parents and providers based on needs, determined by assessments. Identification and prevention of fraudulent activity in the Wisconsin Shares Program. 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.