Research directed toward maltreated children possesses an urgency characteristic of all problems of great social import. Child maltreatment sets in motion a probabilistic path that is characterized by failure in the successful resolution of major stage-salient issues of development. These developmental disruptions contribute to a profile of relatively enduring risk factors that increase the likelihood that maladaptation and psychopathology will ensue. The author describes a 30-year journey as an investigator of child maltreatment. Areas that he has focused on over the course of this investigative odyssey are highlighted. He concludes with a discussion of the social policy implications of this work, including how research on child maltreatment can contribute to decreasing the burden of mental illness.