Educators and community service providers often have frequent contact with families. The goal of this course is to develop an understanding of the literature on family studies, and to link such knowledge to practical issues that educators and community service providers often face when dealing with different types of families. Using both social ecological and family systems perspectives as overarching frameworks, the course helps students understand different family subsystems (e.g., marital, parent-child, sibling) as contexts where children and adolescents learn skills and develop competencies. The emphasis is on how these subsystems operate in reciprocal ways, and how they afford opportunities for and place constraints on the development of children and youth of different ages. Particular attention is also directed to the unique situations in Hong Kong, including the pervasive influence of Chinese culture, the intense conflict between work and family, and the common involvement of grandparents and domestic workers in childrearing. Finally, the course explores practical applications of research to the real world, and discusses how macro factors may affect the functioning of families with different sociocultural backgrounds (e.g., low-income, immigrants, ethnic minorities).