Office of the
State Fire Marshal

Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Program

JFIP Mission Statement

Picture of the Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Program badge

“To provide the youth of our communities, and their families, a fire safe environment, be it in the home, the school, or wherever they pursue their varied interests, through identification, education, and referrals, in an effort to deter future firesetting among our youth.”

Senior Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Coordinator Rebekah LePore utilizes a scrapbook when counseling juveniles.

Danger Signals for Youth Firesetting

  • Hyperactivity
  • Previous Firesetting
  • Impulsivity
  • Acts Before Thinking of Consequences
  • Conduct Problems
  • Lack of Social Skills / Loner
  • Fascination with Fire / Stares
  • Setting Fires in and Around the Home
  • Learning and Behavior Problems
  • Extreme Mood Swings / Violence
  • Have Friends That Engage In Firesetting
  • Compulsive Lying
  • Easily Led by Others / Follower
  • Bulling Others / Victims of Bullying

Motives for Youth Firesetting

  • To Create Excitement / Bored
  • Curiosity
  • Revenge Against Siblings or Peer
  • Coercion by a Sibling / Peer / Friend
  • Response to a Fantasy
  • Call Attention to a Problem / Cry for Help
  • Revenge Against Parent / Guardian
  • Response to a Family Problem
  • Response to a Media Influence

Fire Safety Education Program Topics

  • General Fire Safety
  • Consequences of Firesetting
  • Hurting Themselves and Others
  • A High Price to Pay (Legal/Financial)
  • Media Influence
  • Media Portrayal of Fire vs. Reality of Fire
  • Good Choices vs. Bad Choices
  • Peer Pressure Influence

“Our children may only be 25% of our population, but they are 100% of our future”

Many people think that firesetting is a phase children will outgrow. Firesetting is not a phase. If a child is not taught fire safety, the firesetting behaviors can get out of control very quickly and lead to severe injuries. Others believe that it is normal for children to experiment with fire. This is not true. Curiosity about fire is normal. However, the use of fire without an adult’s knowledge, approval, and/or supervision is an extremely dangerous behavior.

Because Delaware is a small state, our office takes pride in being the only state in which a Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Program (JFIP) is administered to the entire state through one agency. This includes the four municipalities of Wilmington, New Castle, Newark, and Dover.

When a child is initially referred to our program, our trained staff contacts the primary caregiver and conducts an intake interview over the phone, obtaining all pertinent information necessary to develop a a detailed, custom fire safety educational program for the client, prior to meeting with the family. In most cases, the interview with the client takes place in one of our three offices (New Castle, Dover, or Georgetown) with his/her primary caregiver present. It is scheduled at the caregiver’s convenience, at a time of their choosing, often times in the evenings after school/work. During the interview, the fire incident is discussed in detail, and the trained coordinator also learns about the child’s home life, and any other behavioral considerations that may play a part in the youth’s firesetting behavior. The caretaker is also interviewed to discuss present and prior behavior, as well as any additional concerns they may have. A detailed educational program is then delivered to the youth/caregiver that covers topics relating to the behavior of fire, and how easily a fire can get out of control. Other topics center on getting burned, what happens in the hospital to a burn victim, losing trust, the financial risks involved, and the legal, and lifelong consequences, if someone gets hurt or property is damaged because of the youth’s firesetting behaviors.

After meeting with the family, recommendations are made to the child’s caregiver as to the appropriate service or combination of services indicated. Any assistance with other referrals may be provided upon the family’s request.

The program is strictly confidential and the information obtained from the interview cannot be shared with anyone without the written consent of the caregiver.

To refer a child please use our Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Program Referral Form.

Our staff is also available to deliver presentations to groups of youth upon request. Please use our Presentation Request Form.

Contact Us

Rebekah L. LePore, MS
FM 42
Senior Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Coordinator
Office: 302-357-3075
Call Toll Free: 1-800-432-8500

For more information refer to our Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Program Brochure

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