Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Sclinda Janssen


Title: Fostering Needs First: An OTRs guide to evaluation

Background: Individuals transitioning out of foster care (ITF) are experiencing occupational, personal, and environmental barriers, affecting their ability to maintain independent living. Specific barriers to independence experienced by this population include high rates of homelessness, increased rates of poverty, and increased mental health disruptions (Gomez, Ryan, Norton, Jones, & Galan-Cisneros 2015; Lee & Morgan, 2017; O’Neal, 2015).

Purpose: The purpose of this product is to establish the role for occupational therapy in the foster care system, specifically in the transition out of services and into independent living. This product aims to establish an approach to evaluation and intervention that addresses all areas of the person, their occupations, and their environment in order to improve outcomes for this population.

Methods: A literature review was conducted on the current needs of ITF, existing evaluation tools used, and evidence-based interventions used by occupational therapists and independent living programs. This revealed a need for a client-centered, occupation-based guide to evaluation to identify individualized needs of ITF. Concepts from the person-environment-occupation (PEO) model (Law et al., 1996), Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (Maslow, 1943), and Taylor’s (2008) intentional relationship model were used for the development of the product. This product was developed for use of registered occupational therapists (OTRs) when evaluating needs of ITF.

Conclusion: Fostering Needs First: An OTR’s guide to evaluation for individuals transitioning out of foster care is a guide to evaluation for ITF and was designed to be implemented by OTRs in a variety of settings that provide services to ITF such as government agencies, schools, and psychosocial service providers.