• institutional care;
  • adoption;
  • follow-up;
  • behaviour problems;
  • academic attainment


Fifty-one children who had spent their first 2–7 years in institutions, and who had been previously visited at the age of 41/2 years, were reassessed at the age of 8. Seven children had never left the institutions, the rest had been adopted, fostered, or restored to their biological parent. The children's behaviour during psychological testing was assessed, and information was obtained from their parents and teachers. According to the parents’ reports, the ex-institutional children did not present any more problems than the comparison groups. The teachers, however, found many differences between the ex-institutional children and their classmates. Despite very frequent staff changes, the institutional children were not retarded. The adopted children had the highest mean I. Q, and reading achievements; this finding appears to be related to the higher social class of the adoptive parents and the poorer emotional adjustment of the children restored to their biological families.