A strong argument can be made that given the long-term impact of child and adolescent mental disorders, it is essential for the National Institutes of Health and other funding agencies in the public and private sectors to identify this as a priority in need of greater financial support. This document uses data provided by the National Institute of Mental Health and other sources to assess the impact of the National Plan for Research on Child and Adolescent Mental Disorders that was presented to Congress in 1990. Major gains are noted, particularly in the areas of services research and prevention. Investment in research training and career development has been modest and many deserving career development proposals have not been funded. A major shortcoming in the implementation of the national plan, thus far, has been that the National Institute of Mental Health has not yet taken steps to inform the public concerning the nature and impact of child and adolescent mental disorders. This report ends with an examination of the declining indicators of the status of children in the United States and the conclusion that concerted efforts are needed to educate all segments of society concerning the latest knowledge about these potentially devastating conditions and what can be done to prevent and treat them. Our most precious natural resource, our children and youth, is in jeopardy. It is time to build on advances in related fields of scientific inquiry and to continue to develop the knowledge-base needed to intervene effectively and lessen the enormous human and financial costs associated with these conditions.