This chapter sets the context. Despite considerable progress over the last hundred years in raising standards of health and education, the paradox remains that the number of children with emotional and behaviour disorders appears to be rising. These disorders seriously limit the life chances of many thousands of young people. If the quality of life for those who in the past may not have done so well is to be improved, steps need to be taken to prevent the disabling effects of these disorders.
Central to the disorders is how a child is parented. How parents parent, and how children thrive, however, takes place within a wider social context. Children interact with parent(s) and the wider family. Parents and children interact with schools and their local neighbourhood. Schools and communities interact with current economic conditions, local/national policies, attitudes, norms and societal expectations.
Children's emotional and behavioural disorders have consequences and costs for parents, individuals, schools, communities, and whole populations. It makes sense, therefore, that interventions to promote children's emotional well-being should take place in all these domains; that the researchers from different disciplines come together to share their knowledge and expertise, and that interventions for these children are based on 'what works'.