Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

Protecting Children, Strengthening Families, Building Communities




Milwaukee Early Care Administration (MECA)

Picture of multi-ethnic family - mom, dad, baby.

Welcome to MECA

MECA oversees the Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy Program for Milwaukee County. MECA works with the Department of Health Services, Milwaukee Enrollment Services also known as MilES. MilES oversees the Wisconsin Shares Program eligibility in Milwaukee County.

MECA helps establish child care need and approves of the amount of care children receive. We also assist parents with the MyWIChildCare EBT payment card and promote anti-fraud tasks in Milwaukee County.

Our focus is to provide access to affordable, high-quality child care and early education experiences to enhance the lives of Wisconsin children and families.


If you have questions regarding the MyWIChildCare EBT card, the Milwaukee Early Care Administration (MECA) is available to assist you. Please contact MECA at 414-615-6322.


Our Mission

Promote excellence in early childhood care and education in Milwaukee County.

Providing access to affordable, high-quality child care, which enhances children’s development and the family's ability to work.

In Milwaukee County, our staff works closely with the community to:

  • Provide child care subsidy authorizations for working parents
  • Support and provide Wisconsin Shares training for licensed and certified child care providers
  • Maintain the integrity of Wisconsin Shares child care dollars

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.

Wisconsin Shares Child Care Parent and 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.

Wisconsin Shares Client Overpayment

If you have questions about a Wisconsin Shares Overpayment or need more information, learn more at the Program Integrity Parent page.

If you need to make a payment on a Wisconsin Shares Overpayment, follow the instructions on the Public Assistance Overpayment web page.

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.