The purpose of the present study was to analyze the criteria used for admission of infants to institutional care in the metropolitan area of Stockholm in 1970, 1975 and 1980. The study included 337 infants. Their records from the institutional care have been studied. A significant decrease was observed from 1970 to 1980 on the following grounds for admission: teen-age mother, adoption, unsatisfactory housing situation, hospitalization of the mother. The following criteria for admission showed a significant increase: maternal alcohol and/or drug abuse as well as psychiatric disorders. It is concluded that there has been a dramatic change in the criteria used for admission of infants to institutional care from 1970 to 1980. Voluntary admissions of infants for maternal health reasons or social problems of a temporary nature have apparently been supplanted by non-voluntary admissions owing to maternal addiction and psychiatric insufficiency.