The research presented in this Report is the result of a study commissioned by the Commonwealth Department of Social Security in which the Centre was asked to examine the changing balance and fit between Commonwealth and State programs in meeting the needs of homeless young people and in particular as they affect wards of state. The Report reviews changing policies and practices of State welfare departments in the use of orders for care, protection and control, and Commonwealth policies and services supporting young people in and leaving care. Case studies of services to young people in care in Queensland and South Australia examine these issues in more depth. The Report finds there is a longstanding trend to reduced use of legal orders for wardship across all States. The case studies suggest that this reduction reflects the conjunction of changing legal philosophies of care with fiscal constraints on the resources available to State welfare departments. New or extended Commonwealth measures designed to assist young people lacking parental support are particularly problematic in the case of wards under 16 years of age, for whom the Commonwealth considers the States responsible. In the result young people find themselves negotiating changing and sometimes contested boundaries between Commonwealth and State.