Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Roberta Carrlson


Adopton; Foster Home Care; Group Homes; Orphanages; Referral and Consultation


The purpose of this scholarly project was to identify the needs of children in the adoption and foster care systems (AFCS) by creating a screening tool to refer them to occupational therapy services. In the United States (US), the number of adopted children has grown to 1.8 million (Vandivere, Malm, & Radel, 2009), and to 400,000 children in the foster care system at any given time (Bramlett & Radel, 2017). These children are considered an at-risk population due to their life experiences. Occupational therapists (OTs) are uniquely qualified to work with this population. Due to stress and adversity, children who have experienced such traumatic events may be challenged in numerous areas of occupation OTs are trained to address (Davis, 1999). Such areas may include: social participation, activities of daily living (ADLs), education, instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), play, and sleep/rest. Not only are OTs positioned to suit these needs, but they can also be key team collaborators between professionals and agencies involved with the child’s care.

A literature review was conducted to gain background information on the AFCS population and determine the implications of growing up in a non-biological parental household. The authors utilized resources such as the University of North Dakota Harley E. French library databases, scholarly textbooks, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), and other reliable sources to locate information. The Ecology of Human Performance (EHP) model was used to guide the development of the project.

Our screening tool, the OTRT: Occupational Therapy Referral Screening Tool, was organized by concepts of the EHP model. The product also includes a user’s manual for the OTRT, typical age-related development stages, and scoring information. The authors have also included within the scholarly project a number of comprehensive evaluation assessments to be used by an OT’s discretion if a referral to occupational therapy services has been made.