The article begins by making the point that a good assessment of the needs and circumstances of family members is important if previous neglect of affected family members is to be reversed. The methods we have used in research studies are then described. They include a lengthy semi-structured interview covering seven topic areas and standard questionnaires for assessing the impact of substance misuse on the family member and whole family, and the family member's symptoms of psychological and physical ill health and ways of coping. Also described are two methods for assessing social support (SS) available to a family member: drawing a SS network diagram; and a recently developed family member social support scale. The remainder of the article discusses the challenge of introducing standard family assessment and outcome monitoring into routine service practice, including the need for shorter versions of those assessments that have been used in research.