Youth Firesetter Program

Taking Responsibility

It starts, almost always, with just a match and a piece of paper, nothing complicated or intricate.

The flames from the match eats its way across to the paper.  The paper begins to crackle and curl.  It gives off heat, smoke, and light.  The glow lights the face of the fire starter.  It is an intelligent face; a young face; a child's face.  One fire out of four is set by someone, the evidence that survives indicates that 40 to 70 percent of those deliberately set fires are set by children: our children.

It is the responsibility of ALL of us to inform and educate the children to the problems associated with fire.  Mothers, fathers, teachers, and firefighters alike, have the responsibility to teach the children of our community.  Do your part to help the children in your life understand what fire is, how it can help and most of all, how it can hurt!

Curiosity or Crime?

Parents instinctively equate fire setting with a criminal act, since fire departments and court systems have always presented it in this manner.  There needs to be a more comfortable feeling on the part of parents.  Every fire set by a child should not be considered arson.  Certainly there are some that are intentional and malicious, which is the traditional definition of arson, but just because you have a child who plays with matches doesn't mean criminal activity has taken place. 

How the Program Works

Our Youth Firesetter Intervention Program is designed to intervene in destructive behavior.  The intervention process begins with an initial interview and assessment followed by the planning and implementation of a strategy.  The initial interview will be conducted over the phone with one of our trained JFS program staff, and the parents.  By first identifying the juvenile and assessing the level of firesetting behavior, we can then recommend family fire safety practices, prevention education classes, and/or professional counseling services.  These partners consist of mental health facilities, social workers, family therapists, juvenile authorities, and more who are available to meet your needs.

How to Make an Appointment or Talk to a Youth Firesetter Program Specialist

If you have any questions or would like to talk to a Youth Firesetter Specialist please call the Fire Department at (641) 673-3541.