Motivational Interviewing: A Primer for Child Welfare Professionals

Date: September 2023

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Motivational interviewing (MI) is a strengths-based, evidence-based communication method professionals can use to support families involved in the child welfare system. Adolescents and parents involved with child welfare may be ambivalent or hesitant about working with the system because they became involved involuntarily, have negative perceptions, or have past traumatic experiences with the system. MI may be a useful strategy for child welfare professionals seeking to better engage families. This factsheet provides child welfare professionals with an overview of MI, describes circumstances when it can be applied, and highlights some basics of the method.

Suggested Citation: Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2023). Motivational interviewing: A primer for child welfare professionals. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau. https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/motivational-interviewing/ 

This material may be freely reproduced and distributed. However, when doing so, please credit Child Welfare Information Gateway.