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Providing abandoned children the necessary medical and psychological care as possible after their institutionalization may minimize developmental delays. We describe psychomotor development in infants admitted to an orphanage in Khartoum, Sudan, assessed at admission and over an 18-month follow-up. Psychological state and psychomotor quotients were determined using a simplified Neonatal Behavior Assessment Scale (NBAS), the Brunet–Lezine and Alarm distress baby (ADBB) scale. From May–September 2005, 151 children were evaluated 2, 4, 9, 12 and 18 months after inclusion. At admission, ∼15% of children ≤1 month had a regulation impairment according to the NBAS, and 33.8% presented a distress state (ADBB score >5). More than 85% (129/151) recovered normal psychomotor development. The results of the program reinforce the importance of early detection of psychological disorders followed by rapid implementation of psychological case management to improve the development of young children in similar institutions and circumstances.