This article examines the effectiveness of contract accountability in social service contracts. The analysis is based on five case studies of Kansas contracts for selected welfare, Medicaid, and foster care and adoption services. Results indicate the state has achieved moderate to high levels of accountability effectiveness, especially in terms of specifying social service contracts and selecting appropriate accountability strategies. However, accountability is undermined by the use of risk shifting, reliance on a system of multiple competing providers, and the adoption of new information technologies. These conclusions contradict the conventional wisdom, theory, and existing research on contracting.