This issue of Sociological Review commemorates the 25th anniversary of the adoption by the UN General Assembly of The Convention on the Rights of the Child on November 20, 1989. It should be recalled that the beginnings of children’s studies and the sociology of childhood coincided in time with the introduction of this treaty, which established international standards for children’s protection and development. The Convention aims at safeguarding the youngest society members from different forms of abuse, exploitation and violence, as well as at promoting their rights to a decent standard of living and to broad social participation. The authors of the articles presented herein, representing the current sociological attitude towards children and youth, follow these assumptions. The articles thus mirror some important attributes of contemporary children’s studies – its cognitive multidimensionality, differentiated quantitative and qualitative methodologies, the shift from “research on children” to “research with children”, scholars’ interest in the results of comparative studies (especially the results of natural sciences), and the concern about the practical implementation of research outcomes. The main topics tackled in this collection of texts are children’s poverty and social inequalities rooted in the first phase of their life cycle, suffering and various risks experienced by children and teenagers, framed in both the national and international contexts, as well as children’s quality of life, youngsters’ well-being, youth participation, civic engagement and the new concept of investing in children. Children, considered as equal social actors and citizens – although still most vulnerable to abuse, discrimination and social exclusion – are presented in the framework of their complicated networks of relationships with peers, adults, collectivities and societies, the welfare state, social policy institutions and other organizations, with the notion to important factors decisive for their present life and their future.
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