Last Friday, September 11th, county and state officials announced the creation of the Child Care Anti-Fraud Task Force. Several organizations- including the Department of Children and Families, Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office, Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Milwaukee Police Department, Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office, and U.S. attorney’s office- will partner together in an effort to curb fraud in the Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy program. According the Department of Children and Families, the task force will start its efforts in Milwaukee County, as 58 percent of Wisconsin Shares funding is allocated there.
The creation of a fraud task force comes after a series of stories in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel profiling cases of excessive fraud within the system. In one case, a Milwaukee couple- Willie and Pamela Kohlheim- has been indicted by a federal grand jury. The Kohlheims ran multiple day care centers in Milwaukee and may have fraudulently filed for bankruptcy. The pair is thought to have committed fraud in the Shares program as well. Read more about this story here.
Since its creation last year, the Department of Children and Families has taken aggressive steps in stopping fraud in the subsidy program. 98 providers have had their licenses revoked and a 5 person program integrity task force has been formed. The department is also working with legislators to create and pass laws that prevent fraud and hold providers accountable for their actions (The proposed Senate Bill 280 is one example).