This paper describes a recent study conducted jointly by the authors in the Khomas Region of Namibia. The study developed and trialled research and documentation methods regarding very young children who had been infected or affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Because of the stigma attached to the disease, effective methods for assessing ‘real’ needs of the target population have been elusive in Namibia and elsewhere. The aims of the project were to identify ways to assess the developmental needs of HIV/AIDS orphans and other children without parental support and to test methods for securing and documenting this information. The study included an investigation of how health, nutrition, education and social services are distributed throughout the target population and how services can be strengthened within contextual constraints. The authors will share aspects of their study, which can guide processes for similar research in other regions and areas. As well as research methods, the paper provides analyses of the components needed for supporting sustainable environments for HIV/AIDS infected and affected children, including supports for child headed households and other orphan-care programs.