The goal of planned adolescent health-care transition procedures is to optimize functioning and well-being for all young people, including those who have special health-care needs. In this regard, the transitioning of young people with childhood-onset rheumatic diseases to adult health care is increasingly important, particularly as many of these patients might continue to have active disease or considerable sequelae well into their adult lives. Key components of a successful plan for health-care transition include encouragement of patient self-advocacy, tailoring of the process to each individuals' needs, family adaptation, and readiness and training of relevant health-care providers. Improving outcomes in patients with serious rheumatic diseases presenting in adolescence will be achieved by increasing our understanding of the aetiopathogenesis of these disorders, identifying accurate predictors of the development and/or course of disease and better defining long-term outcomes. In this article, we discuss transitional health-care models, as well as the benefits and challenges of providing transitional care to adolescents with rheumatic diseases. We also highlight the need to ensure that research is integral to transitional care pathways.