The title of a recent research report commissioned and published on behalf of Limerick Children and Young People’s Services Commitee asks the pertinent question ‘How are our Kids’ and we suggest that this special conference issue of the Children’s Research Digest answers the question by providing a comprehensive overview of how we as a society rate in terms of caring for our children at the beginning of the 21st century. 

A selection of articles based on presentations made at the recent Childrens Network for Ireland and Northern Ireland’s annual conference on December 10th 2014 is included in this issue. The title of the conference ‘Caring for our Children: Lessons Learnt – Informing Future Policy and Practice’ prompts us to focus on the concept of ‘caring for our children’ and pause and consider what has been learned in the past with a view to enhancing the lives of children in Ireland in the future. In recent years we have witnessed a myriad of reports, inquiries and studies addressing how we have cared for our children, some of which have included recommendations on how we can improve. The conference addressed this from a variety of angles, with papers presented on the sub-themes of health, education and schools, early years, child protection, equality and research methods.

We are very grateful to everyone who participated in bringing this special conference issue of the Children’s Research Digest to fruition. The editors would like to thank all the authors who contributed, the members of the Editorial Committee and the reviewers for their time and patience. Special thanks are due to our graphic designer Leanne Willars who has brought life and colour to the issue. We are also grateful to the Children’s Research Network Executive, its chairperson Orla Doyle and administrator Marian O’Dea for their on-going support.