The 'problem family' has been re-excavated by New Labour and located at the centre of the drive against 'anti-social behaviour'. Associated with this is a plan, announced at the launch of the Respect Action Plan, to put in place a network of 'intensive family support' schemes: the so-called 'sinbins'. It is maintained that this is a retrogressive development and needs to be viewed in the context of debates that took place on the 'problem family', in Britain and elsewhere in Europe, in the past. Examining research reports that 'evaluate' the existing 'sinbins' it is argued that these are lacking in reflexive hesitancy and insufficiently critical. It is also suggested that social policy researchers, frequently funded by government grants when investigating 'social problems', need to retain a certain wariness and scepticism before providing research 'products' which seem to largely endorse the policy and practice 'solutions' that the State, committed to the maintenance of social order, has formulated.