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Youth Firesetter Program

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The French Camp McKinley Fire District partners with the Firefighters Burn Institute to provide a Youth Firesetter Program to the communities we serve.  This program can be a great option for youth that are exhibiting firesetting tendencies.

The firesetter program has five levels of participation known as Family Responsibility Steps. Depending on your child’s situation, some steps may not apply.


A family interview and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) assessment will take place with a Youth Firesetter Intervention Specialist at a location designated by the assessor. This may be a fire station or the home/living environment of the youth who has exhibited fire setting/play activity. As many family members as possible are recommended to attend.


If your child has been issued a citation by a fire agency you may be allowed to enter a process by which the citation can be dismissed or not issued. This process can be initiated by the Fire Investigator or the Juvenile Probation Department. If the Fire Investigator initiates Diversion then this step must occur at the time the citation is issued. If you do not complete the program, it will go back to the Fire Investigator who may send the citation to Juvenile Probation. If a youth is cited directly to Juvenile Probation then that agency has the option to identify a low level offender and divert them to an educational program (ie. YFP) in lieu of a more serious punishment.

Educational Intervention:

FFBI YFP provides an academy structured course and it is recommended that all family members attend the academy. The academy is conducted at various times throughout the year at different locations. The academy is broken up into age appropriate classes for the youths and there is different curriculum for each class. The parents/caregivers are in their own group as well where they attend informational training seminars.

The academy provides many educational tools as well as presents guest speakers from various fire departments, probation, UC Davis Burn Center & Mental Health.


If the final score from the assessment falls within certain parameters, family counseling will be recommended by the fire agency. If a child/family has been referred to counseling, it is strongly recommended that the counseling occur con-currently to the academy. If the child is already in counseling, the child should continue counseling and the parent should advise the mental health provider that the child has a history with firesetting. Notify the counselor that the child was FEMA assessed and it is the fire agency recommendation that counseling be conducted that would address the child’s firesetting issue. Also notify the mental health professional that it has been determined that the child is at risk for future firesetting. If more than a year has gone by since the original assessment, a second assessment must take place before the family attends the academy. 

Information regarding your family’s ability to pay or insurance medical benefits information may need to be produced to determine if there will be any cost for counseling services provided by the firesetter program.

Behavioral Update:

After completing the fire safety academy and/or counseling, the firesetter program may contact the parent/caregiver to determine the status of your child’s behavior in regards to the following:

  • Occurrences of firesetting
  • School work
  • Family communication
  • Activities with peers
  • Whether your home environment shows a reduced risk in your child obtaining instruments used for firesetting