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Report: Taxpayers spending less on child care program after fraud spotlight

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Taxpayers are spending a lot less on the Wisconsin Shares child care program, five years after massive fraud was discovered. 

The Journal Sentinel said the costs of the subsidized daycare program for the working poor dropped by $65 million a year in Milwaukee County alone. That's where most of the fraud took place. 

After it came to light, lawmakers approved a series of reforms, and a task force rooted out offenders. 39 child care providers in Milwaukee County have been convicted of defrauding Wisconsin Shares -- mostly by claiming millions in state reimbursements to serve children they never actually cared for. Similar cases were scattered elsewhere in the state. 

Milwaukee prosecutor David Feiss said the spending cuts have generally not hurt those in Wisconsin Shares. He said the numbers of families being served have remained held steady. 

David Edie of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families says other factors have also brought costs down. He says reimbursement rates have not gone up since 2006. 

Providers no longer get paid when kids are absent. And centers which don't meet more stringent standards have lost 5 percent of their funding.