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Studies of the child-rearing competency of mentally retarded parents are few and based primarily on deinstitutionalized populations; results have been equivocal. A checklist devised to assess intellectual limitation in parents led to the identification of 45 families with an intellectually limited parent in the course of evaluations of 370 children in a pediatric developemental clinic. It became evident that the presence of a benefactor was crucial in enabling limited parents to meet community expectations. Identification of parental limitations is seen as a prerequisite to essential modification in service delivery to both parents and children.