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National Juvenile Firesetter/Arson Control and Prevention Program: Assessment Report

NCJ Number
R Cook; R Hersch; J Gaynor; J Roehl
Date Published
202 pages
This report examines the problem of juvenile firesetting and intervention programs and is the first part of a four-stage national project design to improve programs for controlling and preventing juvenile firesetting and arson.
The National Juvenile Firesetter/Arson Control and Prevention Program began in early 1988. A literature review showed that children vary widely in their firesetting behaviors and that interventions should be matched to the particular behaviors. A mailed survey of 158 juvenile arson programs received responses from 70 programs and revealed that all programs assess the nature and seriousness of the behavior. The programs involve education, counseling, restitution, and referral in dealing with firesetters. In drawing on these programs to develop prototypes, decisionmakers need to consider program effectiveness, the types of firesetters served, the types of services, and the program's relationship to the justice system. They should also include the following elements in policy and procedure manuals for prototypes: program structure, planning and coordination, publicity and outreach, screening and evaluation, intervention services, referral mechanisms, and monitoring systems. 74 references and appended forms, survey instrument, background information, and program profiles.