Noninvasive brain imaging permits longitudinal studies of anatomic brain development in healthy and psychiatrically ill children. The time course for gray matter maturation varies by region and parallels earlier histological studies, indicating dynamic patterns of overproduction and regression. Developmental trajectories vary in relation to gender, intelligence, and overall functioning. Twin studies show high heritability for brain volumes, which varies with region and with age. Diagnostically specific, illness-related changes as well as outcome-associated plastic response are observed as illustrated for two pediatric populations, childhood-onset schizophrenia and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, conditions which may be, in part, disorders of brain plasticity.