The target date for the Millennium Development Goals is only five years away. Much remains to be done if progress towards achieving them is to be sustained. Young Lives research is tracking 12,000 children in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam to learn about their education, well-being and experiences of poverty and uncertainty. Our work shows that over the period covered by the analysis there was progress towards the MDGs, but that significant inequalities in access to and quality of services and children's outcomes remain. Strategies to support sustained improvements under the MDGs need both to improve overall outcomes, and to deliver most for the poorest and most marginalised children.