How possible is it for the state to steer family values and relationships? How do we assess claims of harm and benefit from state action and inaction? What kind of engagement should we seek between the state and our personal lives? The evidence presented includes state engagements with separating couples, lone parents, retired people, black families, disabled people, pregnant teenagers and young people negotiating adulthood. The range of perspectives, data, and cross-nation-state comparisons, helps readers to come to their own conclusions.