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Look at Juvenile Firesetter Programs

NCJ Number
R K Hersch
Date Published
5 pages
An analysis of the extent of juvenile firesetting and selected intervention programs concludes that intervention programs can successfully combat juvenile arson and firesetting.
However, juvenile firesetter programs seldom have formal agreements or working relationships with various components of the juvenile justice system, such as law enforcement, prosecutors, or the courts. Such relationships are necessary to ensure the adequate tracking of all juvenile firesetters. The Institute for Social Analysis and the Police Executive Research Forum are conducting a National Juvenile Firesetter/Arson Control and Prevention Program. Its efforts to date have revealed that firesetting includes a wide range of behaviors in children. The four categories of juvenile fire-related behaviors are fire interest, fireplay, firesetting, and arson. Firesetter programs are usually housed within fire services. A survey of 158 programs received responses from 70 programs. Results showed that the programs try to determine the motives behind the firesetting, provide education, refer youths if necessary to professional counseling, and refer troubled firesetters to other agencies. Program vary in their methods and effectiveness. Elements contributing to success are careful planning and coordination, a public awareness education campaign, accurate screening and evaluation procedures, a comprehensive range of services, an efficient referral system, and an effective case monitoring system. Figure and list of committee members.