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Research Article  |   January 2009
Social and Occupational Justice Barriers in the Transition From Foster Care to Independent Adulthood
Author Affiliations
  • Amy Paul-Ward, PhD, MSOT, is Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy (HLS 243), Florida International University, 11200 SW Eighth Street, Miami, FL 33199; paulward@fiu.edu
Article Information
Ethics / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Social Justice and Health Disparities
Research Article   |   January 2009
Social and Occupational Justice Barriers in the Transition From Foster Care to Independent Adulthood
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January/February 2009, Vol. 63, 81-88. doi:10.5014/ajot.63.1.81
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January/February 2009, Vol. 63, 81-88. doi:10.5014/ajot.63.1.81
Abstract

The professional discourse on social justice suggests that more critical work is needed to sufficiently address the societal issues that affect occupational therapy practitioners’ ability to advocate for and with clients. Occupational therapy offers unique opportunities for the scholarly discussion of social justice and for clinical practice to address these issues. This article discusses the importance of incorporating a social justice perspective into occupational therapy by using an example from the author's research program. The experiences of adolescents in foster care were documented in an ongoing qualitative participatory study. An overview of adolescents’ (N = 40) perceived independent living and vocational service needs is provided, and several barriers that affect adolescents’ ability to develop the skills needed to achieve independent adulthood are described. The article concludes with a discussion of social justice implications as they relate to the myriad issues in the foster care system, occupational therapy research, and practice.