Over a million families in the UK currently have only one parent. The growth in lone motherhood has been one of the most dramatic changes in family patterns since 1975. It has challenged long-held policy assumptions, raising a series of questions and issues that are at the heart of our understanding of the nature of the welfare state and the relationship between state and family. The subject of lone mothers is not only of interest in itself; it has implications for major policy issues. The academic debate on lone parents is very broad in scope, covering gender roles, the relationship of the family and the state and the relationship between social policy and labour market policy. This book examines these key issues and their impact on the UK and other countries.