Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Programs

Organizations that offer firesetter intervention programs for children and adolescents, some as young as age two or three, who have demonstrated a fascination with fire and who may have set one or more fires accidentally or through curiosity-motivated fire play. Activities generally include an interview with the youngster and his/her parents to determine the motivation for the firesetting behaviour and the severity of the problem; information regarding the appropriate and safe use of fire, child supervision techniques and responsibilities, what to do if a fire occurs and the consequences of setting fires; and a concluding tour of the local fire station. Problem firesetters with deeper problems are referred to the mental health system for counselling or, if malicious criminal intent is involved, are charged with juvenile arson and become the responsibility of the juvenile justice system. Juvenile firesetter intervention programs are often offered by local fire departments in cooperation with police agencies, schools and other community groups.

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