Motivational interviewing: An approach to support youth aging out of foster care

Adeya Richmond, Lynne M. Borden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Summary: With thousands of youth aging out of foster care each year, caseworkers must provide various types of support and assistance to help these youth successfully transition to independent living. Collaboratively, youth and caseworkers work to create a transition care plan to develop attainable goals that enhance success across multiple domains (e.g. education, employment, etc.). Some youth struggle with meeting their goals as stated in their transition care plans. Motivational interviewing is an approach that can help elicit motivation and reinforce characteristics, such as self-efficacy, that may help youth thrive. Findings: This article outlines key research on how motivational interviewing is an approach that strengthens positive youth development and can improve youth’s engagement in skills, resources, and services as they age out of foster care. Data support the use of motivational interviewing with youth to improve their motivation as well as outcomes. Applications: Caseworkers can apply motivational interviewing to all of their work with youth and their families in foster care. Motivational interviewing might be especially effective with case plans in order to create goals that resonate better with youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)970-985
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Social Work
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 22 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.


  • Social work
  • adolescence
  • case management
  • foster care


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