Wisconsin Department of Children and Families

Protecting Children, Strengthening Families, Building Communities




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.





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.

How do I become eligible for child care?

In order to become eligible for child care benefits, you must apply at ACCESS, call 888.947.6583, or walk into the Coggs building at 1220 West Vliet Street in Milwaukee.

What is an authorization?

An authorization is determined based on your verified approved activity, the number of monthly hours, the monthly sum of funds that will be available, and the terms of the child care subsidy under the Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy Program. An authorization is created to allow you to pay for child care using the new MyWIChildCare EBT card for the care needed while you are in an approved activity.

How do I get an authorization?

View the Authorization and Eligibility diagram to better understand the process to get authorized for Wisconsin Shares. Parents may verify existing authorizations using the Parent Portal.

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.

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.