Previous studies have supported the efficacy of Motivational Interviewing (MI) in increasing treatment engagement and retention among people with substance abuse disorders. However, few studies have assessed the impact of MI with coerced populations, particularly women referred to drug abuse treatment by child welfare due to prenatal drug use. Seventy-one such women who used drugs during pregnancy were randomly assigned to either receive three MI sessions or to watch two educational videos and participate in a home visit. Treatment retention group attendance and random urine analysis results were evaluated in these women during the first 8 weeks of treatment. No differences were found between the two conditions on these variables. Possible reasons for these negative findings are discussed, as are ideas for future research with coerced populations.