Talking about Firesetting and Holding Sensitive Conversations ( 2 day training)

Delivered by

Joanna Foster


Format options

In Person | Online

Duration options

12 hrs ( 2 days)


This training can be adapted for parents and carers including foster carers, and further bespoke elements can be added on request.

Content Summary: 

Harmful behaviours by children and teenagers can often appear frightening and difficult to understand, leaving frontline practitioners overwhelmed and at a loss as to what to say and do.  This can especially be the case with firesetting.

Day one of this two-day course seeks to empower those attending to feel confident about understanding what causes child-set fires, its prevalence and how best to support children and teenagers with firesetting behaviour.

Building on this knowledge, day two explores a roadmap that can be used for having conversations with children and teenagers on a range of sensitive subjects.  Drawing on practical examples from firesetting case studies, delegates will consider a range of scenarios where they will have to think about what their approaches and responses would be if facing this in their frontline work.

By the end of the course, those attending will have explored the causes of firesetting behaviour; how to talk about firesetting in an informed and sensitive way; a roadmap for use in all sensitive conversations with children and young people and how to apply the road map in frontline practice.

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Bespoke Training

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Training delivered by

Joanna Foster

After graduating from the University of Oxford, Joanna gained over sixteen years’ experience of working in the public, charitable and voluntary sectors, including ten years managing the London Fire Brigade’s firesetting intervention scheme for children and teenagers. As manager, Joanna worked with hundreds of London’s most at-risk children and families, re-shaping the intervention scheme in line with statutory requirements to ensure the highest possible standards for clients and staff. Using her working knowledge and training in children’s safeguarding and wellbeing, Joanna worked closely with the London Child Protection Committee to introduce juvenile firesetting behaviour into the London Child Protection Procedures for the first time.

Joanna delivers training, consultancy and supervision services to front-line organisations. She continues to work directly with children and teenagers who set fires, including accepting referrals from public sector bodies. Joanna’s professional clients include practitioners from the NHS, CAMHS, HMPPS, YOT, forensic psychology, fire services, police, education, social care, academia, arts therapies, secure units, mental health services and charities. She has also trained practitioners overseas and developed and delivered workshops and webinars tailored specifically to parents and carers. Although specialising in juvenile firesetting, Joanna’s work and studies enable her to deliver training that covers the spectrum of children, families and practitioners needs. As a result, Joanna has spoken at national and international conferences in the UK, Ireland, Scandinavia, New Zealand and the US on the subjects of juvenile firesetting and children’s safeguarding.

Joanna has a Post Graduate Certificate (PGC) in Child, Adolescent and Family Mental Health, and a Master’s in Applied Criminology, Penology and Management at the University of Cambridge. Achieving distinction status and receiving four awards from the University of Cambridge for her studies, her thesis explored the identification of risk and need when addressing child firesetting. Joanna’s first book ‘Children and Teenagers Who Set Fires: Why they do it and how to help’ was published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers in 2019. In 2021 she was awarded ‘Training Provider of the Year’ by the Fire and Excellence Emergency Awards, receiving several nominations for the title.