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Oregon’sJuveniles with Firescreening tool Judith Okulitch Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal Judy.Okulitch@state.or.us 503-373-1540 ext. 230 www.oregon.gov/OSP/SFM
Learning Objectives • To understand the screening process in the intervention of juvenile firesetters • To gain an understanding of the youth’s fire behavior for planning intervention • To practice using Oregon’s Juvenile With Fire screening tool • To identify other high risk behaviors that may correlate with firesetting behavior
Screening Process • Does not take place until after the youth has admitted to setting the fire. • IS NOT an investigative instrument but the investigator will know many of the answers to the questions • Good idea to partner with investigator for facts of the case • Is part of the intervention program
Effective firesetter intervention intervention programs include: • Conducting thorough fire investigations • Screening youth • Developing intervention options-education/referrals/safety plans • Implementing partnership plans • Evaluating effectiveness
In Oregon . . . The fire service in Oregon determined with their mental health partners the role to play in the assessment process…….
Continuum of Assessment Fire incident Fire history Fire knowledge Mental Status Family Functioning Social Functioning Stressors/crisis Cognitive functioning Personality traits Developmental issues Psychiatric History
Yesterday and Today • Where we have been in Oregon • FEMA/Fineman • Institute on Violence and Destructive Behavior • 130 subjects • Item response theory (IRT) • 7 Key Indicators-family, school, crisis, interpersonal relationships, behavior, prior firesetting history, environmental factors. • Identification of statistically significant behaviors • Development of a screening tool
A new screening tool • Uniform tool used statewide to insure credibility • User-friendly • Time-Sensitive • Flexible • Is focused on the fire incident
Screening tool • Does not predict risk for future firesetting or to be used in placement • Is not a pyschometric test • Firesetting is ALWAYS a HIGH RISK Behavior--- • Must complete a memo of agreement signed by your agency director not to change the instrument or take ownership for it
Screening • The fire service has a different mission than mental health providers. • Fire Service Mission--Educate • Mental Health Providers--Treat
Screening Tool Booklet • Intake Form • Youth Interview • Parent Interview • Parent Checklist • Scoring and Report Writing • Confidentiality Agreement • Safety Contract • Worksheets
Youth Interview 14 Questions: • 3 Questions about school, peers and crisis in family • Is the youth experiencing any school problems? • How does the youth get along with the others in the neighborhood? • Has the family experienced any crisis in the past six months?
The fire • 11 Questions focus mainly on the fire What was set on fire? • Where was fire set? • How much planning was done prior to the fire? • Who was with the youth at the time of the fire? • What was the youth’s response to the fire? • How did the youth feel after the fire?
Was the youth supervised when the fire occurred at home? • How knowledgeable is the youth about the fire? • Does the youth have a fire history? • Has the youth been burned? • How concerned was the youth for accepting responsibility for the fire? • How was the fire started?
Scoring • Answers to the questions are rated 1-3 • 1 indicates that fire department education would be appropriate intervention (includes safety plans) • 2-3 indicates that more extensive evaluation is needed and safety plans need to be put into place • Keep notes but score after the interview
Exercise • In pairs….ask the questions and compile the answers to response #1 ONLY • What do you know about this youth and his/her firesetting behavior?
Level I Youth • Where? locations near home, usually in bedrooms, closets, hiding places or forts • How? matches or lighters are readily available • What? tissue paper, leaves, small trash • Behavioral Response? tries to extinguish the fire or calls for help
Level I Youth • How does the youth feel? may show remorse • How much planning? may be impulsive • What about fire knowledge? limited knowledge about fire
Exercise • In a group of three, have one person ask the question and one person gives the #2 response and the other person gives the #3 response. • What do you know about this youth and his/her firesetting behavior?
What do we know about youth whogive responses at Level 2/3? • Where? -Fires are set near or around home or places of importance to the community - school,church • What? -Objects burned are symbolic - own possessions or possessions of others -Objects burned may be significant to the community -Directed at a specific person for revenge, out of anger or to show power - Fire may be used as a weapon.
Fires • How much preplanning? -The youth went out of the way to collect firesetting materials or may have a “stash” of lighters, matches. -Accelerants are used. -Multiple points of origin.
Fires Is there a prior history? -Youth has a history of setting fires - or playing with fire (burning small objects). • Has there been a crisis? • How does the youth get along with peers? - Fires are set in a group with a ring leader. - Peers have a bad influence on youth.
Fires • How did the youth respond? -The youth frequently stays to watch the fire. -Doesn’t call for help or becomes the hero. -Youth doesn’t show remorse. -Showed lack of feeling after fire or are really thrilled. -Thinks he/she can control fire.
Parent Interview • Information gained from parent and child may differ • Gives you “clues” to know what fire education the family needs “What kind of modeling is going on and what are the cultural or traditional uses of fire in the home?” • Helps identify fire history/early fire experiences
Parent Checklist-Self Report • Keeps parents busy but is not busywork • Provides good information for the interviewer and for referral agency • Items are the “red” flags for at-risk kids
Red Flag-Behavior • Lies • Is physically aggressive or violent • Destroys own or others’ possessions • Is caught fighting or stealing • Expresses anger by hurting others/self • May be depressed Institute on Violence and Destructive Behavior,University of Oregon 1998
Relationship to Others • Child is victimized by others • Poor loser • Shows off for peers • Has trouble expressing feelings • Friends are a bad influence (older, more delinquent kids) • Has experienced rejection/isolation Institute on Violence and Destructive Behavior, University of Oregon 1998
School Issues • May be hyperactive • Lacks ability to concentrate • Acts impulsively • Refuses to cooperate • Has special education needs, academically or behaviorally Institute on Violence and Destructive Behavior, 1998
Family Issues • Crisis in family • Stability in home is lacking (moves frequently) • History of emotional, physical, sexual abuse • Power struggles with siblings and parents • Adult unavailable to child • Harsh punishment/lack of discipline in home Institute on Violence and Destructive Behavior, 1998
Website and Phone Number www.oregon.gov/osp/sfm (503) 373-1540 ext. 230 or 240