This chapter outlines the rise of interest in the interconnecting contexts of children, families and communities and the consequences of those interconnections. Families and communities can offer both opportunities and constraints for children's participation in the world and their general development, and the impact of context varies with the child's age and other characteristics such as disability, ethnicity and gender. The interest in context has led to descriptions of 'the ecology of childhood', and explorations of 'the cultural nature' of children's development. It has led also to the recognition that - for the analysis of child development, family life or social policy - we need studies on the ways in which children, families and communities are interconnected. The pathways that lead to negative and positive consequences for individual children, families and communities also need close examination as do the best opportunities for intervention to enable a turning point in life trajectories.