One of the fundamental issues confronting those who create, analyze, or work within the framework of modern American social welfare policy is the relationship of the family and the state in the delivery of social care through social services. Dr. Moroney develops the idea of the family as both recipient and dispenser of social services. Simply and effectively he "paints the landscape" with respect to American families. He focuses on two special cases: families with frail elderly and families with severely mentally handicapped children. The notion of shared responsibility between the family and state, the nature of social welfare response through government programs and the professional response of social workers to families in need, and some of the dilemmas inherent in formulating family policy in a multicultural, pluralistic society are examined.