Systemic lupus erythematosus in children can present with a wide spectrum of disease manifestations. Significant organ system involvement appears to be more severe in children than in adults. Central nervous system disease continues to be difficult to diagnose because of the lack of sensitive and specific diagnostic tests. Renal function is the major determinant of long-term prognosis and management in children with lupus. Identification of patients who are most at risk for progression of renal disease and aggressive treatment, including corticosteroids and immunosuppressive agents, are indicated. Genetic susceptibility studies in lupus reveal multiple contributions from HLA and non-HLA genes. Current concepts regarding apoptosis and DNA-protein complexes and autoreactive T-cell help for anti-DNA antibody production suggest novel directions for therapies. New understandings of the pathogenesis of neonatal lupus syndrome and congenital heart block reveals important information about prospective monitoring and management of mothers and fetuses at risk.