Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

Protecting Children, Strengthening Families, Building Communities



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.

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
    • Note: With Milwaukee transitioning to MyWIChildCare as of April 2, 2017, Milwaukee Early Care Administration will no longer accept online or paper Attendance Report Forms after Friday, June 30, 2017. Policy states that the local agency may refuse to process attendance that is submitted for a period of more than 90 days. Please be advised that this policy is based on the issuance date on the Attendance Report Form. For further information regarding provider payments in Milwaukee, please visit us at 1220 W. Vliet Street, Milwaukee, WI 53205 or contact us at 414-289-6842.
  • 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.