Family Policy and the American Safety Net shows how families adapt to economic and demographic change. Government programs provide a safety net against the new risks of modern life. Family policy includes any public program that helps families perform their four universal obligations of caregiving, income provision, shelter, and transmission of citizenship. In America, this means that child care, health care, Social Security, unemployment insurance, housing, the quality of neighborhood schools, and anti-discrimination and immigration measures are all key elements of a de facto family policy. Yet many students and citizens are unaware of the history and importance of these programs. This book argues that family policy is as important as economic and defense policy to the future of the nation, a message that is relevant to students in the social sciences, social policy, and social work as well as to the public at large.