The Innocenti Social Monitor 2009 uses available data to capture and monitor the situation of children in the period of growth, but also to look at changes in the context in which children are growing up. The character of economic growth, widening inequalities, striking demographic trends, as well as public expenditure levels and structures, all influence policy choices which affect children. While acknowledging the considerable benefits which this period brought to children in the region, the report also highlights persistent inequalities in the distribution of the benefits of growth and argues that children did not benefit as much as the rest of the population during this period. This was partly due to the failure of policy to reach out to those groups of the child population most at risk and to provide adequate policy support and resources to reduce inequalities and the risk of social exclusion. The Innocenti Social Monitor 2009 is organized in five chapters, the first of which provides an overview of key indicators of child well-being in the region, with a focus on changes in the period of economic recovery. Chapter 2 looks at three aspects of the changing context in which children are growing up, namely the rates and character of economic growth, income inequality, and demographic trends. Chapter 3 evaluates the commitment of governments to guaranteeing basic health and education services, as well as social protection, by looking at levels and structures of public expenditure in the period of growth. Chapter 4 focuses on the plight of selected groups within the child population in individual countries: groups which are at particular risk of marginalization and whose condition is not well captured by average indicators or standard methods of data collection. Chapter 5 summarizes the monitoring challenges which still exist in order to improve the visibility of children in data and research, and to have the evidence needed to inform policy-makers and to hold governments accountable for progress or lack of progress in achieving child rights.