Adolescents with diabetes have unique health needs, which impact upon their transition from children's health care services into adult health care services. These health needs result from the precarious period in their lives, when they have to cope with the stresses of being a maturing person. This coincides with their move from the children's into the adult health care service. Whilst coping with these pressures they must also keep their diabetes under control. The impact of emotional and physical demands upon the adolescent means that they are more susceptible to non-adherence, which may result in reduced diabetic control. This literature review identifies some of the many barriers erected to the transition into the adult health care system; these barriers may be constructed by any one of the parties involved: the children's health care team, adult health care team, the adolescent or their family. Principles of a successful transition are explored, along with the prerequisite qualities required of health care providers and the health care service.