Summary: Although a wealth of research exists related to children involved in the child welfare system, far less is known about parents’ experiences. Specifically, research is needed that examines the motivation for change of parents involved with the child welfare system in order to inform interventions with this at-risk population. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 33 parents court ordered to participate in a parent education group due to involvement with the child welfare system. Interviews were recorded and transcribed, and researchers used qualitative content analysis to examine parents’ motivation to change their parenting behaviors. Findings: Participants highlighted how patterns from their family of origin, their own identity, and their current support systems served as motivation for change in their own parenting behaviors. Results were discussed using a social cognitive theory framework. Application: Clinical implications include the need to assess at-risk parents’ unique sources of motivation for change and how current parenting practices may be encouraged or modeled from others. Doing so may improve engagement and retention in interventions meant to improve family outcomes.
- child welfare
- Social work