Effect of foster care on young children's language learning

Child Dev. 2011 Jul-Aug;82(4):1040-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01604.x. Epub 2011 Jun 16.


This report examines 174 young children's language outcomes in the Bucharest Early Intervention Project, the first randomized trial of foster placement after institutional care. Age of foster placement was highly correlated with language outcomes. Placement by 15 months led to similar expressive and receptive language test scores as typical age peers at 30 and 42 months. Placement from 15 to 24 months also led to dramatic language improvement. In contrast, children placed after 24 months had the same severe language delays as children in institutional care. Language samples at 42 months confirmed that placement after 24 months led to lower expressive skill.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Developmental Disabilities / psychology
  • Female
  • Foster Home Care / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intention to Treat Analysis
  • Language Development*
  • Language Tests
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Male
  • Romania
  • Speech / physiology*
  • Treatment Outcome