• Considerable attention has been given to diabetes care in children. However, nursing practice may be guided by biomedical models. • Diabetes care in children should focus on family-centred approaches arguably based in the community. • Psychosocial constructs have an important role in the development of self-management of chronic illness in children. • Paediatric diabetes nurse specialists are pivotal in facilitating family-centred care based on personal models of child and family interventions.