Retention in a Parenting Intervention Among Parents Involved with the Child Welfare System

Lenore M. McWey, Kendal Holtrop, Armeda Stevenson Wojciak, Amy M. Claridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Although parenting interventions are among the most commonly required case plan activities for parents involved with child welfare system, a large percentage of families who begin parenting interventions drop out prematurely. The purpose of this concurrent mixed-methods study was to better understand risk factors associated with retention in a 10 week evidence-based parenting intervention. Qualitative interviews and standardized measures were completed with 31 parents who were court ordered to participate in a parenting intervention due to child welfare system involvement. We compared and contrasted patterns across completion and non-completion groups. Results indicated specific similarities and differences in anticipated gains, motivation, and social support among parents who completed the intervention compared to those who did not. Additionally, parents who did not complete the intervention tended to have higher problematic parenting scores and levels of parenting stress, and the least amounts of social support compared to those who successfully completed the intervention. Patterns among three typologies highlighted important differences across groups. Results indicated that in order to promote successful engagement and retention in parenting interventions among parents involved with the child welfare system it may be important to screen for cumulative risks during the early stages of the intervention and to augment services to better meet the needs of this at-risk population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1073-1087
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


  • At-risk
  • Child welfare system
  • Foster care
  • Parenting
  • Parenting intervention


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