Fingerprinting bill needs more work

Story by The Spectator Staff

A bill introduced by state Rep. Mark Honadel (R-South Milwaukee) that would require child-care providers to fingerprint children needs to be reformed in order to address the larger issue of child-care fraud in the state.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has investigated the child-care system in Wisconsin for the past year and has discovered loopholes in the system that allowed well-off households to reap money from the state.

Some well-off families were able to receive thousands of dollars, sometimes simply to care for their relatives’ kids. It’s obvious that the system is broken. And reformative measures should be taken to prevent more fraud in the future.

Some lawmakers have suggested a card swipe program, similar to what is used in other states, but Honadel claims biometric systems, like fingerprinting, are more

effective.

Hondael claims the legislation will “stop all the fraud like a freight train in a brick wall,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

But he and other proponents of the bill are moving too swiftly in responding to this issue. With more than $300 million from tax payers invested in the Wisconsin Shares program, a hasty decision will result in more problems for the state.

The fingerprinting equipment would cost care providers around $500, the Journal Sentinel reports, and the state would cover the cost of the software.

The Spectator staff discussed the merits of fingerprinting children with differing opinions. Some parents opt to have their kids fingerprinted as a precaution that could be used to identify them at a later time.

It’s appropriate for parents to decide to fingerprint their children, but the government requiring all kids who go to daycare in Wisconsin, to some on the board, is crossing the line.

If child-care providers want to get around a fingerprinting system, it’s likely they will. Loopholes will inevitably exist in the system, and households will be able to find away around the fingerprinting system.

This bill seems to oversimplify the issue of child-care fraud in Wisconsin and responds to the issue with a high-tech solution. Perhaps what really needs to be addressed is the amount of money funded to child-care providers, and to make sure they have the proper merits to supervise children.