The Wisconsin Legislature's Joint Finance Committee unanimously approved spending $1 million to install fingerprint scanners in child care facilities as a means of stemming fraud in the Wisconsin Shares subsidy program.

Children or their guardians will now need to scan their fingers when they arrive at and leave child care facilities, a move that is meant to give the state assurance that it is paying only for children who actually attend day care. 

The fingerprint scanners will first be installed in 10 facilities in February as a pilot project, and the program will be expanded statewide around July. Ultimately, 620 providers are expected to have the scanners.

Mobile scanners will also be issued, to be used by child care providers who provide transportation for children.

State officials originally planned to create a system to track attendance with swipe cards, but they determined the fingerprint scanners would be more effective and easier to use and had lower overhead costs.