Unity Caucus and Senator Taylor present summit with DCF and local officials
Compiled by Courier Staff
Senator Lena C. Taylor (D) Milwaukee) this week announced a child care summit to take place Saturday, February 27th in Milwaukee. The summit will offer advice ranging from how to open a daycare center to questions about receiving micro-loans. In addition, information about Wisconsin Act 76, the recent changes to the Wisconsin Shares Program, will be shared and discussed.
The summit’s objective is to offer advice on not only various concerns that might occur in operating a child care center, but also what parents should look for in a child care center. The event seeks to teach individuals the inner workings of an audit and what one must do during the procedure.
Questions will also be answered about any possible issues or concerns one might have about child care centers and how to use the proposed YoungStar system.
The Unity Caucus’ Child Care Summit will take place between 9:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturday February 27th at the Greater New Birth Church on 2207 West Center Street. The Unity Caucus is the collective group of local and state leaders in Milwaukee.
Sen. Taylor and the Unity Caucus are looking for feedback on various questions:
- Are you a concerned parent with questions?
- Do you have questions about starting your own Daycare Center?
- Do you have questions about Daycare Regulations?
- Do you need a micro-loan or do you need help with a Daycare audit?
As the state moves forward with its overhaul of the child care shares program, this summit gives the public an opportunity to voice their concerns, and at the same time receive valuable information from state officials on the correct way to be in the daycare business.
Recently, during an exclusive interview with Reggie Bicha, Secretary of Department of Children and Families, he stated clearly that reforms were needed. If the Wisconsin Shares Program was going to continue, legislation had to be enacted to address the abuses in the program.
Amid extreme scrutiny and some public criticism, Secretary Bicha wanted to make it clear that Black owned child care providers were not being targeted with these reforms.These types of accusations spoken about DCF offended him. He recently faced the airwaves by appearing on 1290 WMCS AM here in Milwaukee to address these concerns. Bicha stated in his interview with The Milwaukee Courier and on the radio that there are several red fl ags that get the attention of his department to physically go out and investigate a child care facility. One way is for someone to call DCF child care fraud hotline at 877-302-FRAUD or 877-302- 3728. Second, irregularities with the daycare provider’s paperwork, for example: over billing DCF for payments that don’t match the quantity of children served at the day care facility. There have been extreme situations where payment requests exceeded 24 hours in a day. For a daycare facility to make some of these requests, the facility would have to operate 24 hours, seven days a week. The hotline has been a major ingredient in gaining attention to many of the cases that have been found to be fraudulent.
New legislation that took effect on Feb. 1, affected some daycare providers. This law states that no daycare provider or anyone associated with the center can have any criminal convictions in their background. This is an issue that kept reoccurring as DCF looked for ways to restructure the Shares Program.
Bicha and others state that under the Thompson administration, the Wisconsin Shares Program was hastily put together in its efforts to eliminate welfare legislation for Wisconsin. Because that administration wanted to be the first state to eliminate welfare, it left many loopholes in the new program.
Governor Doyle’s administration has been concerned with the millions of dollars that the Wisconsin Shares Program continued to demand. Even in an economy where thousands of people are out of work, why would daycare services be more in demand. Things were not adding up, and it became a high priority in the Doyle administration to address these irregularities. And although the Journal Sentinel ran a series of articles that concentrated on fraud within this system, Bicha stated that these reforms were already on the state’s radar.