Enshrined in the Children Act, family centres are increasingly evident in statutory and voluntary child care services. The authors identify factors which have influenced the evolution of family centres and consider the context in which they seek to operate. Different classificatory systems are explored and a new typology is presented. An integrated model of family centres is propounded which recognises the multiple, interconnected factors which must be addressed when considering the health and development of children and families. Processes, services, approaches and methods are examined and central issues are addressed including a child perspective, partnership with parents, gender and race.