Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Sarah K. Nielsen


Juvenile Delinquency; Residential Treatment; Adolescent


Purpose: Reportedly, 95% of youth in the juvenile justice system have had prior involvement with the juvenile justice system, suggesting that intervention does not adequately address the needs of these youth (Sedlack & Bruce, 2010; OJJDP, 2003). The purpose of this project was to address the problem of recidivism with an emphasis on preparing for transition from residential placements to community engagement.

Methods: An extensive literature review was conducted in order to understand the occupational performance deficits that youth in the juvenile justice system face in transitioning to their community. The information obtained from the literature review was then analyzed using the Person Environment Occupation model (Law et al., 1996). Areas of need for youth were identified through completion of the systematic analysis and include: (a) vocation, (b) leisure, (c) education, (d) health management and maintenance, and (e) social participation, which are all important aspects of occupational performance within the youth’s community. In addition, the following key principles emerged from the systematic analysis: (a) self-determination, (b) engagement in meaningful occupations, (c) care through an interdisciplinary team, and (d) mentorship.

Results: Based on the methodology described above, we developed An Occupation-Based Community Re-Integration Program: Residential Occupational Therapy Services and Aftercare for youth who are transitioning back to their community. Interventions were created to improve the youth’s occupational performance to integrate into the community after discharge from the residential treatment center. This program is intended for use while youth are in the residential treatment facility and as a guide for transition to the community with a community interdisciplinary. Within each area of occupation, phases build upon one another in order to facilitate successful performance in all areas of occupation once youth are in the community.

Conclusion: Several barriers may limit the implementation of this program, such as limited funding and resources, dedication from the residential treatment facility staff, the youth’s family, and members of the youth’s community interdisciplinary team, and the effectiveness and validity of the program have not yet been researched. Several areas of strength include the program being based on literature and grounded in theory for development of the program, the program addresses a need for this population, and is able to be modified and adapted to fit the needs of the youth.