The early years in the life of a child are critical for cognitive, social and emotional development. It is therefore important that we make sure that children grow up in an environment, where their social, emotional and educational needs are met. Children who grow up in an environment where their developmental needs are not met are at risk for compromised health, well-being and sometimes also developmental delays. Failure in the first years of life or lack of invested time or resources (both family and society) may have long term effects on not only development, but also the health, welfare and education systems. Society must therefore work to ensure that children develop in safe, loving, and secure environments. They are our future and our success or failure. This yearbook compiles the work done in 2008 with a broad research agenda on a global basis, addressing questions ranging from policy to practice, and spanning the developmental spectrum from human genetics, infancy and early childhood, to adolescence and adulthood.