All over Europe family carers provide the vast majority of care for dependent older people. Are they recognised, socially and politically protected and supported? This report reflects the issue of family care in 23 European countries based on National Background Reports written in 2004 as part of the EU-funded project EUROFAMCARE. It provides a comparative overview of the wide range of formal care systems and services for their support, as well as highlighting examples of interesting, innovative or good practice. Key topics have been selected, ranging from the legal status and responsibilities of family carers to the work of caring, concluding with the main policy implications for the future of family care.