Date of Paper/Work


Type of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Occupational Therapy


Occupational Science/Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Julie Bass

Second Advisor

Stephanie de Sam Lazaro

Third Advisor

Paula Rabaey


Occupational Therapy


In 2013 the average number of children in foster care on any given day was 6,200 in the state of Minnesota (Minnesota DHS, 2016). While the majority will eventually be reunited with their families or find permanent housing with a relative or caregiver roughly 9% will leave foster care without the benefit of any permanency (Minnesota DHS, 2016). There are numerous programs in place to help these youth transition from foster care to independent living. The National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) was created to track the outcomes of foster youth who participated in these programs (Administration for Children & Families, 2012). The purpose of this study was to use data collected by the NYTD and characterize the foster care population using the PEOP model by their occupations, and person and environmental factors. A total of 1,032 individuals completed the NYTD survey. The average percentage of survey participants reported having received a high school degree was 3.5% at age 17, 71.9% at age 19 and 75.4% at age 21. The average percentage of survey participants who reported experiencing homelessness in the past year was 20.1% at age 17, 29.3% at age 19 and 40.8% at age 21. The average percentage of survey participants who reported being employed was 27.7% at age 17, 44.9% at age 19, and 57.1% at age 21. The results of this study indicated that Minnesota youth transitioning from foster care have worse outcomes when transitioning to independent living than their peers. This study also found that individuals who chose to remain in extended foster care until age 21 had better outcomes than those who chose to leave foster care. To assist in improving the outcomes of the foster care population the occupational therapy lens may be helpful when advocating for foster youth, becoming involved in surveillance activities by developing methods to better characterize the foster care population.