Family-centred care would seem to be a central element of children's nursing, but there is no consensus about its meaning. This paper uses a combination of Rodgers' evolutionary model of concept analysis and Schwartz-Barcott and Kim's hybrid model of concept development to facilitate a dispositional approach to analysing this concept. Data from a qualitative survey undertaken during 1994/1995 was used in conjunction with data obtained through a questionnaire, to provide the field-work element for the process of analysis. The process resulted in the identification of the antecedents and attributes of family-centred care, and the identification of a lack of clarity related to the consequences of family-centred care. Two alternative models of family-centred care emerged, both of which demonstrate strong associations with the concepts of partnership with parents, parental participation and care by parents. The paper does not conclude with any definition of family-centred care, but rather explores its usefulness in practice and considers how the concept might be operationalized. The tentative proposals for a hierarchy of family-centred care will require exploration, testing and evaluation by practitioners in the real world of children's nursing.