The Care in the Community demonstration programme was launched by the Department of Health and Social Security (DHSS) against this background. As an informal, localised, family-centred means to support people with long-term needs it obviously pre-dates formal, institutional and congregate care arrangements. Community care support has long been offered to people with most mental health, problems, physical disabilities, learning difficulties or age-related needs, notwithstanding shame, concealment and neglect by a few families. During the 1980s community care rarely left the policy agenda. Indeed, the period sandwiched between the DHSS consultative document on the subject issued in July 1981, and the announcement exactly nine years later of the phased implementation of the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990 saw unprecedented attention lavished on community care. Broadly speaking, the desirability of community care as a policy often contrasted with reservations about its operation in practice. The chapter also presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in this book.