Experiences of child abuse and neglect are risk factors for youth suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Accordingly, suicide risk may emerge as a developmental process that is heavily influenced by the rearing environment. We argue that a developmental, theoretical framework is needed to guide future research on child maltreatment and youth (i.e., adolescent and emerging adult) suicide, and to subsequently inform suicide prevention efforts. We propose a developmental model that integrates principles of developmental psychopathology and current theories of suicide to explain the association between child maltreatment and youth suicide risk. This model bears significant implications for future research on child maltreatment and youth suicide risk, and for suicide prevention efforts that target youth with child maltreatment experiences.