Youth Firesetter Referral

Youth Firesetter Intervention Program Information

The Burn Institute’s Youth Firesetter Intervention Program (YFS) began as a diversion program in 1989, using education to prevent youth from continued fire setting. Today the YFS program has significantly expanded and advanced. The program incorporates evidence-based risk assessment tools and education to intervene in dangerous fire setting behavior and stop it at the source.

What do we do?

  • Respond to referrals from county fire departments, law enforcement, school officials, probation, juvenile justice systems, Metro Arson Strike Team, and others in San Diego and Imperial Counties (including self-referral)
  • Provide risk assessments for future fire setting behaviors
  • Provide education courses, which are cognitively and age appropriate with the youth and family about legal ramifications, fiscal ramifications, and the dangers to self and others
  • Make referrals to community agencies to address compounding clinical issues
  • Maintain confidential database of youth referrals and assessment results

Who do we serve?  What is the cost?

  • Youth ages 5-18 who are referred for fire setting behaviors are eligible for services
  • Available in English; other languages may require additional time to obtain an interpreter
  • Services are provided free of charge to residents from San Diego and Imperial Counties

The program consists of an initial assessment in which confidential interviews are conducted with the child and parent/guardian to determine the reason behind the behavior. In addition to reviewing consequences of fire play, the family is responsible for fire safety activities including planning and practicing a home fire escape plan, testing smoke alarms in the home, and securing all matches and lighters.

If you have received a referral to the YFS Program, the Burn Institute will contact you within 48 working hours to schedule an appointment.

Assurance of informed consent protects the Burn Institute, you, and the youth(s).

  • This form is not to be given to the youth or adult guardian.
  • Fill out a separate form for each youth being referred.
  • The YFS Coordinator may only speak to a legal guardian to arrange the evaluation. Ask if the adult from which you are receiving information is the youth’s legal guardian.
  • The referred individual’s contact information is confidential and secure; it will not be shared with third parties other than the referral source without a court order.
  • There is no cost for the Youth Firesetter Program and evaluation site options may be available.


This information should be shared with the parent/legal guardian over the phone or in person. Please indicate on the form below that you have provided the information below to the parent/legal guardian.

  • Although any adult can provide referral information, the YFS Coordinator may only speak to the youth’s parent or legal guardian to arrange evaluation.
  • It is understood that the parent/legal guardian of the youth is responsible for contacting the YFS Coordinator within 72 working hours. If contact is not made within 72 working hours, the referring agency will be notified.
  • The Burn Institute may require additional time to obtain an interpreter.
  • The parent/legal guardian has a right to decline the YFS services at any time. Consequences of declining or not completing services should be addressed by the referring agency or legal counsel.
  • The parent/legal guardian has been advised YFS services are free of charge.
  • The parent/legal guardian will receive a description of the YFS Program and contact information to reach the YFS Coordinator at the Burn Institute.