Pediatric empyema can be managed with a variety of modalities, and the evidence for an ideal management strategy is limited. Early or simple effusions can be treated with antibiotics alone or with drainage when respiratory distress occurs. Once fibrinopurulent empyema has developed, therapy may involve either chest tube placement with instillation of fibrinolytics or video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery with pleural decortication. In late or fibrotic empyema, an assumption persists that the fibrotic peel must be managed by decortication that can be done either thoracoscopically or through a minithoracotomy incision. This position paper is coauthored by the New Technology Committee of the American Pediatric Surgery Association. The goal is to discuss the ongoing controversies and summarize, in an evidence-based manner, the various treatment options and to suggest a reasonable therapeutic algorithm for the care of children with empyema. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.