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Fireproof Children: An Introduction to the Child Firesetter Program

NCJ Number
D Storm
Date Published
0 pages
Using narration combined with dramatization, this video instructs viewers in the need for, value of, and the steps in implementing the Fireproof Children Program, which is designed to identify juvenile fire setters and respond appropriately to prevent a recurrence of firesetting.
The Fireproof Children Program profiled is in Rochester, N.Y. Primarily intended for fire department training, this video is an ideal tool for demonstrating the need for such a program and for illustrating how the program operates. The video can also be used to educate other agencies about the role they play in addressing the problem of child fire setting and to gain support from community leaders. The video begins with the narrator citing statistics to show the prevalence and cost of child firesetting. The video then proceeds to address the following issues: the profiles and motivation of the children involved, the structure and operation of a fire department program, the recognition of juvenile involvement in a particular fire, responses to the children and their families, and how to gain community support. One of the program leaders discusses the need for the program and how it has been implemented in Rochester. An organizational chart for the program shows that although the fire department is the lead agency for the program, other community agencies and institutions are integral to the program. Other agencies involved are schools, social services, legal services, mental health agencies, police youth services, family court, research agencies, and community groups, as well as families. The fire department takes the lead in determining whether or not a child or juvenile was involved in setting a fire. Should a juvenile be identified as the fire setter after a careful investigation, an interdisciplinary team determines what disposition should be made of the case and how the juvenile's behavior can be modified to prevent a recurrence. This may involve education intervention and/or referral to a mental health agency and/or legal intervention, follow-up, and documentation. Suggestions are offered for getting a program started in a community.