I called County Executive Bill McReynolds today hoping to talk to him about the child-care scams recently exposed by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. See two most recent posts. McReynolds returned my call and set up a meeting between me and Debra Jossart, Director of Human Services Department and three supervisors responsible for approving payments to child-care providers and rooting out fraud.
Bottom line, I have no idea whether county employees are doing an exceptional job, a mediocre job, or a lousy job of preventing fraud.
But the larger problem is the program itself. In order to encourage work, the state, with federal funds, will pay for child care expenses. Under some circumstances this could be a great idea. However, when the state pays a child-care provider $85,000 so that someone can earn $20,000 at a minimum wage job, I have to question the value of such a program. Because of the large difference between a minumum wage salary and the state payout for child-care services, an opportunity exists to defraud the system. Even without outright fraud, I fail to see how the larger society gains by paying huge sums of money so that someone can work a minimum wage job.
And I must admit, I don't know what to do with or for poor, single women and their multiple children. But I do think we should remove the incentives that exist for women to have multiple children and then use them to milk the government for profit.
And lastly, I have asked Bill McReynolds, via voice mail, what, if anything, county employees or county government could do to reduce the fraud. If I hear anything, I will let you know.