Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Examines State Child Care System
Feb 02, 2009
Last week, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published a series of articles regarding cases of fraud within the state's child care assistance program. Yesterday's Sunday opinion section featured several responses to the article, including a letter from Danielle Ewen, Director of Child Care and Early Education at CLASP urging readers to keep sight of the importance of the child care program:
"The Journal Sentinel's Jan. 25 investigation of Wisconsin Shares found a few cases of fraud that warrant further investigation. However, the cases are exceptions and are not cause for losing sight of the bigger issue. Roughly half of families receiving child care assistance are working but have incomes below the federal poverty level. They and other low-income families need child care assistance so that they can secure and maintain jobs, knowing their children have safe, quality child care.
Congress currently is considering increasing federal funds for child care assistance because the need is so great. The articles pointed to the growing demand for child care assistance since 2003. This need is real for tens of thousands of working families in Wisconsin and millions throughout the nation. The need likely will grow if the economy continues to sour and more incomes drop.
Certainly, waste and fraud are unacceptable in government programs. President Barack Obama has, in fact, said his administration will more closely scrutinize government programs for waste as a cost-saving measure. And Wisconsin administrators have vowed to take a closer look at Wisconsin Shares, as they should.
Still, we shouldn't allow the allegation of fraud to blight a program that has helped so many low-income parents stay employed, provide for their children and move out of poverty."