Adaptation of a Mental Health Treatment Engagement Intervention for Older Foster Youth

Sarah Carter Narendorf, Maurya Glaude, Michelle R. Munson, Kenya Minott, Breanna Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Youth who exit foster care often have mental health treatment histories, but they commonly discontinue treatment after exiting the system. The purpose of this study was to adapt an intervention designed to improve engagement/investment in mental health treatment, specifically to be delivered to youth aging out of foster care. An iterative process that incorporated focus groups with both youth and providers was used to adapt the original intervention curriculum, then the feasibility of implementation of the adapted intervention in settings for older foster youth was explored. Language of the intervention manuals was modified so terms resonated more with youth and was simplified to be accessible to low reading levels. Two new sessions were added to provide skills for talking with providers and to assist in incorporating mental health into broader transition goals for foster youth. The adapted intervention was implemented on an ongoing basis at a transition drop-in center. The adapted intervention was found to be acceptable by facilitators and youth participants. The most feasible and acceptable content and setting for the group to be implemented in an ongoing way emerged from the results. Future efficacy studies are needed to determine whether outcomes such as attitudes toward mental health services and engagement are changed by the intervention. Preliminary testing supports the potential for integrating the adapted engagement intervention into broader transition planning efforts since mental health has strong connections with other transition domains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-41
Number of pages15
JournalChild and Adolescent Social Work Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Foster youth
  • Intervention adaptation
  • Mental health treatment
  • Treatment engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • General Social Sciences


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