Governments and to some extent scholars have long treated contract oversight as a trivial or at best mundane sideline to broader issues of privatization. This is a critical mistake. In the context of human services, contractor oversight can prove to be a life or death question. In all contexts, it is crucial to protecting taxpayers’ investment in their government. From services provided to the most vulnerable among us, like child protection and the treatment of the disabled, to prisons that protect us from harm, to more prosaic tasks like maintaining infrastructure, states provide a broad array of services that dramatically affect our lives. The fact that states contract with private companies to provide ever more of these services therefore takes on a heightened sense of urgency. As a corollary, the means by which states oversee these contractors goes from a mundane matter of public administration to a vital matter of public interest. Bucking the trend against detailed examinations of administrative capacity, we conducted an in-depth analysis of how New Jersey oversees its contractors. Our findings were eye-opening.