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MECA Eligibility and Authorization Information

If you have additional questions about your Wisconsin Shares Application or the authorization process, please contact the Milwaukee Early Care Administration.

Apply for Wisconsin Shares Child Care Eligibility

To become eligible for child care benefits, apply: at

  • Online: Apply using a computer or tablet at ACCESS
  • Phone: Call 1.888.947.6583
  • In Person: Coggs Building at 1220 West Vliet Street in Milwaukee. 

*Limited walk-in services are available for Wisconsin Shares eligibility services.

Submit Documents/Verification for Wisconsin Shares Eligibility only at any of these two locations:

Coggs Center 
1220 W. Vliet St. 
Milwaukee, WI 53205

2701 S. Chase Ave.  
Milwaukee, WI 53207

Hours: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, or 8-12 p.m. on Thursday.

Learn more about and how to apply for Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy.

What is child care eligibility?

Eligibility for child care benefits is determined by the DHS agency and is based on your involvement in an approved activity such as employment, school or W-2, as well as your income level. Learn more about child care eligibility.

What is a child care authorization?

A child care authorization is the number of hours you are approved for to cover your child care need. The child care need is based on the hours of your approved activity, the child’s schedule, the chosen child care provider operation hours, and the travel time needed in order for you to get to your activity on time. The hours approved are calculated into an approved subsidy dollar amount to cover a portion of your child care cost. You will use these funds to help pay for child care using your MyWIChildCare EBT card.

Note: A parent may be responsible for any amount not covered by Wisconsin Shares, including, but not limited to enrollment fees, supplies, field trips, etc.

How do I get a Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy Authorization in Milwaukee County?

In order to request a Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy authorization, you must first meet Milwaukee Enrollment Services (MilES) Eligibility Guidelines. After approval, contact the Milwaukee Early Care Administration (MECA).

View the Parent Role in Child Care Eligibility and Authorization Process document to better understand the process to get authorized for Wisconsin Shares. Parents may verify existing authorizations using the Child Care Parent Portal.

In Milwaukee County, if you are already eligible for Wisconsin Shares, you can request a child care authorization in one of the following ways:

  • Go online 24 hours/day, 7 days a week at the Child Care Parent Portal to submit your request for a child care authorization or to schedule an appointment for an authorization worker to contact you.
  • Call us at 1.888.947.6583. Listen to the prompts to request a child care authorization. 

Why has my authorization changed?

There can be many reasons why your child's authorization has changed.

  • The authorized period has ended
  • You are no longer eligible
  • A W-2 agency has requested it
  • You as the parent, requested it
  • Your provider has ended it (due to non-attendance)
  • Not fully using all of the hours that were authorized

These are the main reasons, but if you feel the change is incorrect, we encourage you to call the authorization unit at 1.888.947.6583, then press 1, 1, 2 and speak with a worker.

What delays an authorization?

  • Actual request for child care assistance never made
  • Scheduling Issues (parent's schedule or child’s school schedule)
  • More information needed from parent
  • Provider information given is needed OR incorrect
  • Eligibility issues
  • Provider Issues (history of over-reporting, more authorizations, than number of slots available, not current with licensing/certification or YoungStar)

If you have been waiting longer than three (3) days for an authorization, we encourage you to call the authorization unit at 1.888.947.6583 and speak with a worker.

Understanding Your Authorization Notice

Read Understanding Your Authorization Notice for complete details regarding your Wisconsin Shares Authorization Notice. It will help you understand the amount paid by Wisconsin Shares, the amount a provider charges, and the amount of money you are expected to pay for child care.

How much child care are my children authorized for?

Parents can view their most recent child care authorization(s) by using the Child Care Parent Portal. Parents can also read the quarterly authorization notice, which is mailed to you.

Foster Parents, Kinship Care Relatives, and Subsidized Guardians

Foster parents, kinship relatives who receive a kinship care benefit and have a court order for the child(ren)'s placement, and subsidized guardians have different income eligibility requirements. Visit our Foster Parent page for more information.

What is MyWIChildCare?

Image of the MyWIChildCare EBT Card

MyWIChildCare is the brand name for the Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy EBT card. Each month, your state authorized child care subsidy funds are loaded onto the EBT card. You can use your MyWIChildCare EBT card to pay your child care provider.

Visit MyWIChildCare Tips for Parents

Parent Resources - Wisconsin Shares Brochures, Fact Sheets, and Videos

If you are a parent receiving Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy, or if you would like to receive Wisconsin Shares, visit the Parent Resource page to learn more about our program.