Parent-child interaction therapy: Tailoring treatment to meet the sociocultural needs of an adoptive foster child and family

Ayanda Chakawa, William Frye, Jamie Travis, Elizabeth Brestan-Knight

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mental health service providers (e.g., social workers, psychologists) working with children in the child welfare system are uniquely poised to evaluate and tailor treatments for maximum effectiveness for these populations. Interventions that focus on improving the parent-child relationship and decreasing behavior problems, such as Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), are important in assisting adoptive foster families as they transition to new family additions. However, sociocultural considerations in the administration of PCIT with adoptive foster families have not been well explored. The current study uses a clinical case design to illustrate the successful implementation and tailoring of PCIT with a multi-racial family who adopted a 4-year old boy with behavior problems. PCIT contributed to a clinically significant decrease in parent-reported behavior problems and an increase in parental use of effective behavior management strategies. Three considerations common among adoptive foster families (family adjustment, unequal parent attachment, and trauma-related background) contributed to the need for socio-culturally oriented treatment tailoring. Parental engagement was maintained throughout treatment. Our findings highlight the importance of culturally responsible treatment delivery. Future recommendations for mental health providers working with adoptive foster children and families are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-70
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Family Social Work
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • behavioral health
  • Cultural competency
  • family interventions
  • foster care
  • mental health services
  • parent training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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