How Common is Developmental Delay Among Children in Foster Care
Children entering foster care have a number of risk factors for developmental and behavioral difficulties. Risk factors for developmental and behavioral problems include genetic disorders, exposure to viruses and/or toxins (including drugs) during pregnancy, poverty and abuse, and neglect (see What are the risk factors for developmental delay? for more details).

Children entering foster care are thus at greater risk for developmental difficulties than children in the general population. Developmental delays seen in children in foster care can include problems with all five of the domains of development, including: Speech and language delays and behavior problems related to poor social and emotional development are two of the most common problems with development seen in children entering foster care.

However, even though children entering foster care are at high risk for having developmental problems, not all children entering foster care will be presented with a developmental or behavioral challenge. Some children in foster care are meeting all their developmental milestones on time.

Other children may have only mild difficulties. These mild problems may improve by simply being placed in a sensitive, caring, and developmentally stimulating environment. As a result, there is a lot a foster parent can do help a child in foster care develop to his or her full potential.

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