U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

National Juvenile Firesetter/Arson Control and Prevention Program, Executive Summary

NCJ Number
Date Published
11 pages
Because juveniles are responsible for a significant number of both accidental and intentional fires that occur yearly in the United States, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the U.S. Fire Administration initiated a research and development program to conceptualize, design, develop, and evaluate community-based approaches to juvenile firesetting prevention and control.
The National Juvenile Firesetter/Arson Control and Prevention Program (NJF/ACP) began with a nationwide assessment of juvenile firesetter programming. The NJF/ACP defined seven components common to effective juvenile firesetter programs: program management, screening and evaluation, intervention services, referral, publicity and outreach, monitoring, and juvenile justice system. An evaluation of three pilot juvenile firesetter projects in Colorado, Oklahoma, and Utah found that all established a multiagency management structure and enhanced local capabilities to screen and educate juvenile firesetters. The three projects were relatively weak, however, with respect to extending juvenile firesetter approaches throughout the target area and establishing a monitoring system. In addition to changing local capabilities and structures, projects screened and evaluated the firesetting behavior of over 600 children. Age differences across projects were pronounced. Younger juvenile firesetters were more likely than older youth to have acted alone, less likely to live in a two-parent household, more likely to have a parent who smoked, more likely to set a fire indoors or at their own residence, more likely to have caused damage over $100, and more likely to have started a fire involving injury or death. Lessons learned from the three pilot projects for regional firesetter efforts are discussed, and recommendations are offered for agencies developing juvenile firesetter programs. 1 table