In the last chapter we explored the changing nature of the schoolto-work transition. It was argued that changes in the labour market and education mean that, in the 1990s, more and more young people are economically dependent upon their families for longer periods of time. Families are not, however, homogeneous and static repositories into which turbulent social change can be poured without strain, anxiety, resistance or confusion. Families are arenas of private dramas, complex negotiations between genders and generations, and conflicts of interest. And these private spheres have been subject to considerable change, public debate and legislative regulation in the last two decades as politicians, political and moral commentators, social scientists and family members have attempted to come to terms with changing patterns of family roles and responsibilities. While some authors have argued that the state should do all in its power to encourage a return to traditional models of family responsibilities (Dennis & Erdos 1992, Major 1993, Murray 1990), Finch & Mason have suggested that it is “not enough simply to assume that the family as a social institution is ready, willing and able to shoulder the burden of supporting its members who cannot fully care for themselves, either practically or financially” (Finch & Mason 1993:10). They argue that it is difficult to draw a line between what families can and should do to meet the needs of members, and what the state must do in supporting its citizens. This is a recurring theme throughout this book.