ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Officials say more than a dozen investigations are underway in Minnesota into the state-funded child care subsidy program for low-income families.

Legislators recently gave the Minnesota Department of Human Services broad new powers to investigate and prosecute those defrauding the program. State investigators say they've uncovered a pattern of fraud in which some child care providers are exploiting poor families to get cash assistance from the state. The providers recruit low-income parents as employees on the condition they enroll their children using public subsidies.

Beginning this month, DHS inspectors have the authority to recoup payments from child care providers that fail to document the services they provided. Inspector General Jerry Kerber tells the Star Tribune  that it's not business as usual for billing child care assistance.