Re: Is it smart to have families on the Enterprise-D?
Re: the Enterprise originally being a 'deep space' exploration craft: ISTR a season one episode (Conspiracy
?) sees Starfleet command being very surprised at the arrivial of the Enterprise in Earth's solar system, with the admiralty even saying that the presence of a Galaxy Class ship in proximity of Earth was rare. Later seasons it seemed like they were always
going back to Earth!
That reminds me of how in "Contagion," the crew was shocked at the very idea that a ship could suffer a warp core breach, because the odds against all those built-in safeguards failing at once were astronomical. The nigh-impossibility of such a breach was a critical clue to the fact that it wasn't an accident. Yet within a couple of years, warp core breaches were happening all the time.
There's nothing quite like internet hyperbole, warp core breeches were rare and some ships like Voyager were able to survive them. The thing about technology on any science fiction series is that it has to fail in order to create drama, transporters failed more often than any other piece of high technology.
As to the matter of children on starships TNG continued to do stories about children they weren't forgotten about, but they have to work around the shortened working schedules the minors are allowed. It should also be kept in mind that not everybody on Federation starships were in Starfleet and many people would want to bring their children with them.
The greatest science fiction series of all time is
Doctor Who! And I'll take you all on, one-by-one
or all in a bunch to back it up!"
--- Harlan Ellison, from his introduction
to the PINNACLE series of Doctor Who books