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Children and Teenagers Who Set Fires

Children and Teenagers Who Set Fires

Why They Do It and How to Help

Joanna E. Foster. Foreword by Professor David Kolko.

Quick Overview

This is a practical book for anyone working with children who set fires, designed to explain why children engage in firesetting behaviour, and how to support them and intervene to prevent fires. It combines expert advice on firesetting research and child development theory with practical activities that can be used in direct work.
Details Price Qty
Paperback / softback
2019, 8.43in x 5.43in / 214mm x 138mm, 192pp
ISBN: 9781785925337
2019, ePUB
ISBN: 978-1-78450-929-3
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This book helps adults to understand firesetting behaviour in children and teens and provides strategies to work with them to address the behaviour. Drawing upon the latest juvenile firesetting research and utilising child development theory to underpin its safety messages, the book explores why young people might set fires in the first place and contextualises firesetting in terms of communication and gaining the attention of carers and other adults.

The chapters lay out practical, tried-and-tested steps that professionals and carers can take to address firesetting behaviour, and suggests how to further support any child or teen who sets fires. This includes summaries of the latest evidence-based support strategies and a range of creative activities that can be used in direct work with children and teenagers who set fires, tailored to specific age ranges. Combining expert advice on firesetting behaviour with straightforward practices, this comprehensive book can be used by anyone working with young people to help them intervene and prevent it.

Additional resources can be downloaded from



Children and teenagers
who set fires is an
absorbing and accessible
introduction to understanding
juvenile firesetting. Part manual,
part paean to her roots in the
Welsh Valleys, Joanna Foster's
first book is a well-judged and
acutely observed insight into an
area that she has worked in for
many years and clearly loves.
All fire and rescue services
have some form of juvenile
firesetting intervention
programme; Joanna used to
manage the London Fire Brigade
team before striking out on her
own a few years ago. It is not an
area that gets a lot of attention -
it is not mentioned once in the
State of Fire and it is unlikely to be
in any of the individual fire and
rescue service inspection reports
either. It is a specialist corner run
by dedicated staff who should all
read this book... This book has a naturally
limited audience but really
it should have wider appeal.
Children need adults who
are kind, caring and above all
able to help them navigate the
complexities of life. Joanna's
book provides the tools to help
practitioners be their guides.


'It's a handbook that provides intelligent, highly effective, practical approaches to understanding young people who set fires. Foster writes with warmth and passion giving insightful, sensitive advice grounded in a caring, child-centred philosophy that will be beneficial to anyone who works with vulnerable young people. A must-read for educators everywhere. This book has the power to save lives.'
- Tamsin Winter, author of Being Miss Nobody and Jemima Small Versus the Universe

'Joanna Foster has done a wonderful job of producing a highly accessible text that introduces the reader to best practice in fire safety work with children and young people. This book is highly engaging to read and should be essential reading for those tasked with the difficult job of addressing fire setting in children and young people.'
- Professor Theresa A. Gannon, Director of CORE-FP, University of Kent

'What a wonderful read. The author's warmth, care, love and commitment to this important area of work is evident in every word on the page. The book is informative and provides a great deal of insight into the area of fire setting. This book generously provides practitioners with practical tools, confidence and inspiration to undertake work in this area. The exercises are brilliant in their simplicity and in my view are transferable to a variety of other disciplines. A superb book.'
- Roz Morrison, Criminal Justice Specialist


By (author): Joanna Foster