During the past decade, the appropriate role of government in society has been subjected to a sweeping reevaluation throughout the world. An important element in this ongoing debate has been a reappraisal of the form and magnitude of public social welfare policy. The essays that make up this volume examine a variety of aspects of this topic as it applies to family policy in the United States, including both the political debate over who should be served and how programs should be funded, and the intellectual questions surrounding the nature of social organization and its role within the state. Divided into three major subject areas, the work reexamines basic elements of current policy debate surrounding family life. The first section explores fundamental features of family policy, considering whether there is a conflict of interest between adults and children in fashioning social policy, and outlining the parameters of a feminist family policy. The second section examines the linkage between ideology and action. Among the topics covered are the link between state political culture and family policy, latchkey children, treatment of the nation's elderly and its link to a mythical past, abortion, and family policy in the People's Republic of China. The final section analyzes a number of specific policies, including AFDC program cutbacks, the decline in family planning resources, nonfamily-based care, and joint custody arrangements, and attempts to trace their impact. A concluding chapter examines the future of family policy. This work will be a valuable resource for both students and professionals in the fields of public policy studies and sociology, as well as an important addition to public and academic libraries.