Cash for a good cause

Steve LeSueur

Even as states cut funding and put the screws to many public programs, they continue to increase spending on human services IT systems. A big reason why: Federal and state laws mandate many of these programs that provide money and services to needy families and children. Another reason why: The federal government provides matching funds to build many of the IT systems required to determine eligibility, disperse benefits and support these programs.

For many systems integrators, human services is the bread and butter of their state and local government business. While the flow of money is not as free and easy as it is for homeland security projects, human services remains an area where the states are pursuing new solutions and projects.

Consequently, research and consulting firm Gartner Inc. expects state and local government spending on human services IT systems to rise 4.5 percent annually from $7.12 billion in 2003 to $8.13 billion in 2006.

Staff Writer William Welsh spoke with government and industry experts regarding new projects and opportunities in this growing market. "Most vendors are saying there's never been a better time for human services than now," one analyst said.

Our front-page cover story tells why.

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