Fire risk behaviours

Follow this procedure when a child protection client living in out-of-home care is known or suspected to have fire-lighting tendencies.

Introduction

Children with fire lighting behaviours pose a risk to themselves, and others. The possibility of serious consequences increases the need for active intervention and is relevant to the exercise of duty of care by the child's care team.

For additional information see Fire risk behaviours - advice.

Procedure

Case practitioner tasks

  • Advise any carer about a child’s known or suspected fire-lighting tendencies. Discuss this with kinship carers or with community services organisations staff, who will discuss it with residential carers or foster carers. Carers must be provided with all the facts and likely scenarios that may eventuate in undertaking such a placement.
  • Work with the care team to develop an active fire safety strategy for the out-of-home care placement. Include in the strategy:
    • an assessment of the child to determine the severity of the behaviour and the likely risks (it may be appropriate to seek an assessment by the Juvenile Fire Awareness and Intervention Program)
    • strategies for managing or modifying the behaviour and addressing related causal issues. Consider referral to an appropriate service for education and support to address the fire-lighting behaviour. Consider how to monitor movement and behaviour during high fire danger times.
  • Include the need for a fire safety strategy in the case plan and incorporate this in the looking after children (LAC) placement referral record and care and placement plan.
  • Monitor the implementation of the active fire safety strategy as part of LAC and in conjunction with the care team.
  • Discuss with your supervisor to determine whether a young person with fire-lighting tendencies should be placed on the high-risk youth schedule – see High-risk panels and schedules.
  • Endorse the fire safety strategy prepared by the case practitioner and the care team.
  • Consult with the divisional manager client support services regarding any equipment purchases, installation or modification of a carer’s home that are necessary in the active fire safety strategy.

The Department of Health and Human Services will pay for approved equipment to be supplied and installed in the carer’s home as outlined in the active fire safety strategy.

Placement agency tasks

  • Advise any carer about a child’s known or suspected fire-lighting tendencies. Carers must be provided with all the facts and likely scenarios that may eventuate in undertaking such a placement.
  • Work with the care team to develop an active fire safety strategy.
  • Monitor the implementation of that strategy as part of LAC and in conjunction with the care team.
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