In Brief  |   April 2016
New Roles for Occupational Therapy to Promote Independence Among Youth Aging Out of Foster Care
Author Affiliations
  • Amy Paul-Ward, PhD, MS, OT, is Director, PhD in Nursing Program, and Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, Florida International University, Miami; paulward@fiu.edu
  • Carol Ann Lambdin-Pattavina, DrOT, MS, OT, is Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy Department, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Article Information
Geriatrics/Productive Aging / Health and Wellness / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Departments / The Issue Is …
In Brief   |   April 2016
New Roles for Occupational Therapy to Promote Independence Among Youth Aging Out of Foster Care
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, April 2016, Vol. 70, 7003360010p1-7003360010p5. doi:10.5014/ajot.2016.017426
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, April 2016, Vol. 70, 7003360010p1-7003360010p5. doi:10.5014/ajot.2016.017426
Abstract

Occupational therapy practitioners are qualified to address the needs of young adults transitioning out of the foster care system; yet, to date, the degree to which practitioners have addressed these needs has been limited. The literature on foster care clearly documents the myriad of long-term challenges that this population faces as a result of their lack of preparedness in independent living, academic, and vocational skills. Moreover, it is clear that existing programs are inadequate for meeting the needs of this population because they rarely include individualized, occupation-based, client-centered approaches for skill development. In this article, we argue that by design, the foster care system marginalizes its “members.” Occupational therapy’s emphasis on occupational justice provides practitioners with an ideal opportunity to remediate the injustice that this population often experiences. To support our position, we describe exploratory work that has been conducted with stakeholders and transitioning youth in Miami, Florida.