Introduction In this chapter I will consider the emotions surrounding forms of UK government family support, especially support aimed at poor or disadvantaged families. Such policy programmes and interventions involve ‘emotional governance’ at a number of levels, including explicit attempts to shape the behaviour of family members (see Lister, 2003) in what might be understood as a means of fashioning the intimate subjectivities of citizens (Rose, 1989). The focus here though is mostly slightly different, in that I am interested in the broader affective atmospheres of policy and practice which shape such interventions, especially the feelings of professionals about the families with whom they are working. In this chapter I suggest that a particular emotional discourse or affective ‘pattern’ (Wetherell, 2012) can be discerned across policy and popular culture about poor families within contemporary austerity Britain, which I argue has an increasingly stigmatising, even hysterical tone.