Throughout history, society has been faced with the dilemma of what to do when a child cannot be cared for by their parents. The State has attempted to intervene in such situations with varying results. In this chapter we take a novel look at the theoretical framework underpinning the modern practice of family-based care and the relationship between the State and family. Through the structural-functionalist perspective we can understand the crucial role that family plays in society and the importance of maintaining its stability. This chapter explores how social work in the UK has evolved from informal charitable to State-funded practices, and the function it fulfils following the breakdown of the nuclear family. As the State moves increasingly towards family based care, we examine the biological and social underpinnings of kinship and how they can motivate the altruistic actions of carers. In turn we can use this understanding to show how society shapes our perception of kinship. In the final section we draw together all of these theories to explore the benefits of kinship care to society and the individual. We argue that kinship care has the potential to be a sound investment, protecting children in need of alternative care and breaking the cycle of care dependency. For the individual, kinship care presents a familiar placement enabling vulnerable young people to develop in safety and without some of the difficulties posed by other forms of care.