Social and Occupational Justice Barriers in the Transition From Foster Care to Independent Adulthood

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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.

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