The care of the needy and the sick is delivered by various groups including immediate family, the wider community, religious organisations and the State funded institutions. The Locus of Care provides an historical perspective on welfare detailing who carers were in the past, where care was provided, and how far the boundary between family and state or informal and organised institutions have changed over time. Eleven international contributors provide a wide-ranging examination of themes, such as child care, mental health, and provision for the elderly and question the idea that there has been a recent evolutionary shift from informal provision to institutional care. Chapters on Europe and England use case studies and link evidence from ancient and medieval periods to contemporary problems and the recent past, whilst studies on China and South Africa look to the future of welfare throughout the world. By placing welfare in its historical, social, cultural and demographic contexts, Locus of Care reassesses community and institutional care and the future expectations of welfare provision.