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Serving youth 

Providing increased opportunities for personal, educational, & vocational success
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14 programs

nurturing growth for bay area youth
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San Francisco

is our therapeutic playground & Community
for providing occupation-Based Interventions
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client centered

Customized Care  to 
discover strengths  & Explore Interests 
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Occupation Based

A core belief that Doing is Healing
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About us

Occupational Therapy Training Program (OTTP-SF), a Division of Special Service for Groups, is a non-profit organization based in San Francisco serving bay area youth.
501(c)3: 95-1716914

our mission

To provide youth increased opportunities for personal, educational, and vocational success.

who we serve

OTTP-SF serves the most vulnerable youth impacted by trauma, ages 3-24, who reside in the San Francisco Bay Area. Barriers faced by our youth may include the following: 

Mental health challenges
Learning, social, and/or emotional disabilities
Special education status
Economically disadvantaged
On probation or detained
Pregnant or parenting
Placement in foster care system
Developmental delays


Youth build skills necessary for optimal performance in school, vocational, home, and community settings. 
Youth are empowered to maximize their potential to achieve personal, educational, and vocational goals. 

Our model

We provide client-centered, strengths-based, and customized care.
While each program features a different emphasis and offers a unique spectrum of services,
the OTTP approach includes:
We invite each youth to bring all of themselves to each session.

our history

     Our umbrella organization, Special Service for Groups (SSG) began during World War II as a result of the Los Angeles “zoot suit riots.” Brewing civil unrest during that time resulted in American sailors attacking Mexican American youth on the streets of Los Angeles, causing a national outrage. To address the issue, the Community Chest (now known as the United Way) formed a ‘special services unit’ to attend to the youth’s recreational and social needs. In 1952, after eight years of operating programs for teenagers, Special Service for Groups incorporated. SSG’s first years offered outreach services to many minority gangs in Los Angeles, operating the most intensive gang counseling program in the United States at the time.
     During the 1960′s, SSG began to expand to address other social problems, initiating programs in areas such as job training and placement, education, housing, and political action and advocacy.
     In 1975, the Occupational Therapy Training Program (OTTP) in LA was developed by a master’s level occupational therapy student from the University of Southern California who conducted her thesis project with youth on probation residing in local group homes and enrolled in a community court school. The project that she developed focused on the development of pre-vocational skills and healthy copings skills.  Youth achieved such positive outcomes that the program was embraced under the umbrella of SSG, and soon thereafter was funded through the Department of Labor.
      Since its inception in 1975, OTTP’s unique, culturally competent, community-based model has integrated the evidence based practice of cognitive-behavioral therapy and occupational therapy in producing positive outcomes for youth at risk of, or currently in the juvenile justice system.  The ultimate goal of our program is to decrease risk behaviors by engaging youth in meaningful, purposeful activities that result in positive future orientation and goal fulfillment.  OTTP’s model is based on the social development model (SDM), which expands upon Hirschi’s (1969) social control theory hypothesizing that delinquent behavior is prevented by high levels of social bonding to conventional others. In keeping with its roots in the profession of occupational therapy (OT), OTTP has combined the SDM with two well-respected models in the field of OT, Cognitive-Behavioral Model and Gary Kielhofner’s Model of Human Occupations (MOHO).  These models emphasize the importance of competence in occupational performances (collectively known as occupation) of school/work, play/leisure/recreation, and activities of daily living. OTTP draws upon these models to develop comprehensive and effective interventions for our clients.
    OTTP-SF was started in 1999 by an occupational therapist from OTTP-LA, Colleen Devine, who continues to serve as the Division Director.



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  • Office

    425 Divisadero Street, Suite 300
    San Francisco, CA 94117

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