The report noted that more than 600 child care centers throughout the state were overdue for inspections this year. At the same time, the caseload of Racine County's certification staff is the largest in the state: Each of the 1.75 workers tasked with that job in the county has 170 facilities to keep track of... more than any of the 11 counties the audit staff inspected.
In those counties visited, caseloads ranged from 110 to 170. The low was 23 facilities per caseload staff person in Crawford County. A national agency recommends not more than 75 facilities per certification staff person.
There are 11,120 regulated child care facilities in Wisconsin; Racine County has 298. Elsewhere in the report it lists the county as having 100 licensed family facilities, 39 licensed group facilities and 413 certified facilities -- a total of 552.
Racine also stood out among the eight cases auditors found in which a felon or child abuser was living or working in a child care facility. Of the eight, two were in Racine County:
- A household member residing at a certified facility in Racine County was convicted of felony battery in January 2004. Racine County conducted a criminal background check of the household member in March 2009, but no action was taken. After we notified DCF of our finding, the county revoked the facility’s certification on October 9, 2009. In 2009, the facility received $6,200 in Wisconsin Shares subsidy payments
- An employee of a licensed family facility in Racine County had a substantiated finding of child abuse in July 2004. When notified of the match, DCF indicated that the employee did not report it on her background disclosure form. Because facilities are not able to obtain information on substantiated findings of child abuse and neglect when they conduct background checks, the facility operator was not aware of the finding. DCF reported that, effective October 23, 2009, the facility is no longer licensed. In 2009, the facility received $19,500 in Wisconsin Shares subsidy payments.
The complete audit report is HERE. This audit follows a series of investigations by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel into abuses in the $350 million Wisconsin Shares child care program. Its report on this latest audit is HERE.