The Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Program works closely with the courts mental health agencies, police and fire departments, along with a variety of juvenile and community agencies. Personnel working in the program are certified to interview juveniles and their families to determine the correct disposition in each case. Juveniles are then referred to either a mental health agency for evaluation and treatment or are placed in an educational program taught by the Intervention Specialists.
In the educational program, juveniles are instructed in correct fire safety procedures, awareness, and decision making, appropriate for their age group. The Juvenile Firesetter instructors are trained by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) through the National Fire Academy to prepare and present the material and lesson plans needed. Reports are then made to the proper agencies on the progress and disposition of each case.
Juvenile Firesetter classes are held on four (4) consecutive Saturday mornings at Rhode Island Hospital and operate in concurrence with the public school calendar. During the winter months there is a layoff of one week between the start of each new four-week session. This is due to the possible cancellation and make-up of a class due to inclement weather.
The curriculum has recently been revised into two programs to target different age groups. There is now a program for children under the age of ten and a second program that targets children ages ten to seventeen. This allows the children to stay interest in the program and understand the information presented. The ages used are merely guidelines and allow for flexibility based on a child's ability at comprehending the course material and any attention or behavioral problems that need to be considered. The level of course that a child attends is determined during a pre-class interview.
Though increased networking and education, our referral agencies have continued to expand. A program is currently being developed that would take the program into local group homes during the week to deliver the classes to those facilities that have difficulties getting their clients to the hospital on Saturday morning because of varying supervision requirements.
Any questions about the program may be directed to:
Inspector Joseph Michalczyk, JFS
Assistant Deputy State Fire Marshal
Providence Fire Prevention Bureau - (401) 243-6050