7th Annual Northeast Youth Firesetting Conference
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Created for Professionals in:
When the Smoke Clears: Preserving Connections & Restoring Safety
This conference focuses on tactics to maintain, or return as soon as possible, youth who have engaged in firesetting to their homes and communities- where they belong.
$110 Early Registration .… Show more
$120 Regular Registration.
OEMS credits & 5 MSW & LMHC CEUs anticipated at a great value (this program is pending approval from the National Association of Social Worker Ce Approval Program)
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All workshop descriptions at bottom of page
May 9th Conference
Registration, Continental Breakfast & Exhibits
Chief John Staley | Thornton, Co Fire Department A Family Affair: Mental Health & The Fire Service
A.M. Workshops *scroll down for descriptions
Presenters *scroll to bottom for bios
“I Burned the House Down, When Can I Come Home?”: Clinical Strategies for Restoring Relationships and Safety
Jenn Bricher, Licsw | Advocates
Laura Joyce, LCSW | Advocates
Liz Murphy, Licsw | Brandon Clinical Supervisor
Expanding Your Toolbox: Developing Successful Fire Safety Education Tools for Firesetting Youth
Jerry DiMillo | Pine Tree Burn Foundation
Scott Yeomans | FIRE
Bob Milne | Brandon Supervisor & Fire Safety Instructor
Lunch, Networking & Exhibits
There's No Place Like Home: Considerations & Resources to Keep Kids in Their Communities
Moderator: Ann Adams | CT DCF
Do You Swear to Tell the Truth?: Testifying as an Expert Witness
Terre Rushton, Associate Executive Director – Programs | National Institute for Trial Advocacy
Keynote: A Family Affair: Mental Health & The Fire Service [Staley]
Opportunities abound for mental health and the fire service to partner with each other in addressing the needs of children and families dealing with problem firesetting in their homes and communities. While each discipline has specific roles and capabilities, this presentation will explore how this relationship can be fine-tuned to maximize success for local programs. A historical view of juvenile firesetting programs and their impacts on family & community health will be presented as well as a summary of how youth firesetting intervention programs have evolved. Keynote will illustrate the relevance of firesetting intervention programs’ history, and the use of fire and life safety education in order to create a sustainable, successful model.
1 “I Burned the House Down, When Can I Come Home?”: Clinical Strategies for Restoring Relationships and Safety” [Britcher, Joyce, Murphy]
Youth involved in firesetting are a diagnostically heterogeneous population who are often functioning within multi-problem and emotionally complex families. While experience has shown that empathy is extremely difficult to teach, guiding a youth to explore the effects of their behaviors on others has proven fruitful. This is especially true when including a mutual apology process between parents and their children and the completion of meaningful community service opportunities in support of restoring family cohesion and community safety. This session will explore how mental health clinicians can incorporate apologies, safety planning, and community service opportunities as components of treatment after a youth set fire. Suggestions for facilitating an apology process and case examples will be shared.
2 Expanding Your Toolbox: Developing Successful Fire Safety Education Tools for Firesetting Youth [DiMillo, Yeomans, Milne]
Referral of a youth with firesetting to a strong fire safety program has been a staple intervention for maintaining home and community safety. Recidivism data gathered over the years has supported this historical practice. As a result well-trained and well-equipped fire safety educators are a critical partner to our goals of increased community safety and connection. This session will help current and new fire safety educators to develop or expand their education toolbox specifically geared for working with firesetting youth in community based programs. This session will be hands on, interactive, and will provide attendees a knowledge base that supports the use of outcome measures, identifies program benchmarks and provide several education tools that every successful firesetting program needs.
4 T here's No Place Like Home: Considerations & Resources to Keep Kids in Their Communities [Moderator- Adams]
The unique needs of youth who misuse fire necessitate a systematic approach to intervention that includes assessing risk, identifying resources, repairing relationships, and improving safety. Over the last several years many states have worked toward providing services for children in the community to decrease the need for institutional care and to prevent incarceration. While the goal of keeping children in the community is shared by families and agencies alike, doing so has been challenging for families, communities and the system of care. A holistic, multi-agency strategy must be constructed that takes into account the needs of the child and the safety of the community. As interventionists, it is critical we hear the perspectives of parents and professionals who have experienced and succeeded at orchestrating community-based care for firesetting youth. In a dynamic panel format, a parent, community-based treatment provider, fire service person, and juvenile justice administrator will share their wealth of personal experience and expertise, and will explore barriers and successful strategies to keep children, families and communities safe.
5 Do You Swear to Tell the Truth?: Testifying as an Expert Witness [Rushton]
Fire service, mental health and other professionals working with youth firesetting may be faced with the opportunity to testify in court proceedings. Expert witnesses must learn the very special art of testifying so that they can teach juries or judges their field of expertise in simple and quickly grasped language. Both of these endeavors require unlearning habits professionals have acquired over time, and learning new skills to be utilized in court proceedings. A great expert is an independent presenter of specialized information, and always resists the temptation to be an advocate for either party. This workshop will provide participants with strategies to employ in both cross and direct examinations if called to testify. A live role play exercise will be presented to highlight several of the communications skills and pitfalls that make for a credible expert witness.
Chief John Staley
John Staley is the Fire Chief in Thornton, Co. He is a 37 year veteran of the fire service with an extremely diverse career. John began his career in Quincy, Illinois where he was instrumental in beginning the department’s first fire investigation team and initiating the first public education program. Chief Staley moved to Billings Montana and worked for the fire department there for 26 years. While employed there he championed several programs from Juvenile Fire-Setter Intervention to Burn Prevention. He also started the community’s first degree program in fire science and the Billings Fire Department’s Officer Development Program. In the community of Thornton Colorado, Chief Staley has initiated several education programs and has initiated a prevention education program to reduce the number of structure responses in the community by 50% in five years.
Ann Adams, MSW has been a Social Worker since 1981. Prior to her employment at the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) in 2002 she has worked as a Regional Team Director at the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. While at (DCF) she was the Director of Community Behavioral Health Services where she developed community based crisis services and wrap around supports for youth with behavioral health challenges. Her current position is the Director of Program Evaluation and Development responsible for monitoring and oversight of community based programs through the Bureau of Quality Improvement. Throughout her different roles it was apparent that the State of CT. has not had a consistent statewide response to address the complex issue of youth involved with firesetting. As a result, Ann has worked closely with Fire Services, clinicians and Juvenile Justice to role out a statewide Juvenile Firesetting program. She is also the Co-chair of the newly established Northeast Juvenile Firesetting Task Force.
William J. McGovern, Jr. is an Investigator assigned to the Albany office of the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control. He has served in this position since October of 2002. In that capacity he instructs various fire investigation courses and provides on-scene technical assistance throughout New York. Bill serves as co-coordinator of the Office’s Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Program, where he organizes various educational programs, facilitates program development in counties across the state, and provides technical assistance conducting youth screening assessments. Bill has an Associate’s Degree in Fire Protection Technology and is working toward a degree in Criminal Justice. He is a nationally certified Fire Instructor and Fire Investigator, and holds New York State certification in several fire and law enforcement categories, including Peace Officer. Bill is a 25-year member of the Cobleskill Fire Department where he served for several years as Assistant Chief. Prior to his current career Bill was a Correction Officer with the New York State Department of Correctional Services, during that time he was also employed as a State Fire Instructor, assigned to Schoharie County, and was a member of the Schoharie County Fire Investigation Team. Bill currently holds professional and organizational memberships in the Iaai, Nys Chapter 23 Fire Investigators, New York State Fire Chief’s Association, Capital District Fire Investigators, Capital District Forensic Officers Group, the State of New York Police Juvenile Officers Association, and the Canine Accelerant Detection Association.
Karl Koistinen, LCSW Karl Koistinen is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who works for the Department of Children and Families in Connecticut. Karl supervises mental health and substance abuse specialists who consult on complex cases that are involved with the Hartford and Manchester Connecticut DCF offices. Karl Koistinen has over 17 years of experience in the social service field. He has worked in both the public and private sector. Karl has earned an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice, Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Masters Degree in Social Work. Throughout his clinical and administrative career Karl has worked in outpatient, in-home, residential, and extended day treatment settings. It is through these experiences that Karl has seen the benefit of providing community based treatment to children, adolescents, and their families. From 2005 to the present Karl has been a part of an inter-agency collaboration between the Department of Children and Families and the Court Support Services Division. The focus has been to divert youth that are heavily involved with the Juvenile Court System and who would have otherwise been committed delinquent and sent to an out of community placement or to the Connecticut Juvenile Training School. The result has been successfully diverting, on average, 70% of the youth back into the community. Karl has experience working with many of the evidence based treatment programs that support the youth that are being treated within the community. In 2000 and 2001, prior to working in Connecticut, Karl was a part of the Massachusetts Coalition for Juvenile Firesetting. In his role at Department of Children and Families Karl has been able to partner up with DCF administrators, community based providers, and state and local fire-setting task forces to advocate for and divert children and youth into community based, wraparound treatment options over highly restrictive residential treatment.
Shannon Carlson, Licsw Shannon Carlson is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker who received her Master’s degree from Boston University and her Bachelor’s Degree from the College of the Holy Cross. Shannon has extensive experience, both as a clinician and program director, at You Inc. and Riverside Community Care where she currently works as Director of the Community Service Agency in Needham, Ma. She has received advanced training in the delivery of wraparound services and is certified in Psychological First Aid through the Trauma Center at Riverside Community Care.
Cathleen Greene, Ed.D. Dr. Cathleen Greene received her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Hartford and her Master’s Degree in education from St. Joseph’s College Dr. Green is currently serving as Vice Principal at West Side Middle School (Waterbury, VT) and is the President and Founder of A Light in the Distance, LLC, an agency devoted to providing diversion and reentry services for delinquent youth. She also is an Adjunct Professor at Post University in Waterbury, CT. Dr. Greene’s 20 year teaching career spans across all age groups, multiple subject areas, and various leadership and coordinating positions. She has presented at numerous conferences on working with at risk learners and also is an active member on a number of community initiatives that address the needs of delinquent and hard to reach youth.
Jennifer Bricher, Licsw Jennifer is a licensed independent clinical social worker with a Masters Degree from Springfield College. She has been employed at Advocates Inc. for the past 15 years, first starting out working with the Psychiatric Emergency Service, and for the past 11 years working at the Brandon Residential Treatment Center. At Brandon, her responsibilities include working as the site supervisor for the Advocates Inc. clinicians based at Brandon. Additional functions include providing individual, family and group therapy to clients, both in the Intensive Firesetting Treatment Program and in other programs at Brandon. She also was a member of the group who developed the new Iftp stage program at Brandon. Prior work experience includes working at the former Deaconess Waltham Hospital in the adult inpatient psychiatric unit and working at the MSPCC providing home based therapy, FST services and as a member of the Trauma Treatment Team conducting sexual abuse evaluations.
Laura C. Joyce, LCSW Laura is a clinical social worker trained in individual, family, and group therapy. As a clinician, she provides diagnostic assessments, solution focused therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and play therapy to clients from latency age to adulthood. She believes in working with each client to harness their inner strengths to overcome their personal obstacles. She specializes in services to children and adolescents in the areas of trauma, firesetting, sexualized behaviors, oppositional and aggressive behaviors, and other adolescent and child psychiatric disorders. Laura received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Ma. Her training took place at the Boston Public School’s and at the Brandon Residential Treatment Center.
Liz Maestranzi Murphy, Licsw Liz s a licensed independent social worker with a Masters Degree from Simmons College. She has been employed at Brandon Residential Treatment Center for the last 11 years, where she is a clinical supervisor. During graduate school her training focused on cognitive behavioral therapy and upon returning to Brandon full time she found a niche working with students and staff in the Intensive Firesetting Treatment and the Rapid Firesetting Assessment Programs. Currently she co-leads a firesetting treatment group, and sees clients and their families as they participate in these programs. She supervises some staff therapists and interns and is embarking on a new research project looking at the sensory needs of boys with firesetting, sexual behavior and/or trauma histories. When given the opportunity Liz also enjoys presenting to mental health or public safety officials about various aspects of firesetting assessment and treatment.
Jerry DiMillo is recently retired Director of the Maine Juvenile Fire Safety Collaborative Program. He led a statewide organization in Maine of juvenile firesetter collaboratives sites, instituted by Executive Order of the Governor of the State of Maine. DiMillo oversaw 14 sites covering the entire state of Maine and utilizes collaborative services of mental health, social services, professional educators, police, fire and district attorneys. DiMillo retired from the Portland, Maine Fire Department and has been involved with juvenile firesetter programs for more than 25 years. He speaks nationally and internationally of juvenile firesetting.
Scott Yeomans has been in the fire service for 30 years. Scott is currently the Juvenile Firesetter Administrator for the Town of South Windsor CT where he also serves as a Fire Inspector. In addition, he is also a Deputy Chief/Safety Officer and Deputy Fire Marshal in Town of Windsor Volunteer Fire Department in CT. Earlier this year, Scott opened Fire Intervention Resources and Education (Fire), LLC, a company that provides educational services to private clinicians and other mental health professionals working with juvenile firesetters. Fire also provides services to local fire departments seeking assistance in developing juvenile firesetter intervention programs.
Robert “Bob” Milne served in the Berkley (Ma) Fire Department for 25 years, retiring in 2007 after serving as Chief of the department since 2003. Bob has been an active member of the Public Fire and Life Safety Education Task Force since 1985 and in 2002 was named the Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year. Bob currently works as the Supervisor-Life Safety Specialist at Brandon School and Residential Treatment Center. He provides fire safety education to students involved in firesetting treatment programs at Brandon as well as to residential staff. Bob is an active participant in numerous professional organizations through the fire service and is Emt and Fire Instructor I Certified.
Terre Rushton Terre is the Associate Executive Director /Programs for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy, (Nita). She has been the teaching Nita since 1982 in regional, international, public service, teacher training and custom programs, and has held various positions at Nita including Director of Custom Programs and Program Director of NITA’s National Session. Ms. Rushton graduated from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 1977, served a judicial clerkship, and then worked for the Colorado Attorney General in the General Legal services section, specializing in election law. She was a partner in the litigation practice of Kelly/Haglund/Garnsey &Kahn, in Denver Colorado for 20 years. During that time, she prepared and presented numerous expert witnesses/ Ms. Rushton has argued before courts in the state, appellate, federal, and federal bankruptcy levels, the10th circuit and the United States Supreme Court, where she successfully argued Budinich v. Becton Dickinson. She has been active in many Colorado Bar association activities, including those focusing on civil court reform, served as Chair of her Section and on the Cba Executive Committee. She has chaired a statewide Multidisciplinary Committee on Domestic Relations, and authored the pro se forms and procedures used in Colorado district courts. She is a frequent lecturer at Cle programs, and serves as an expert witness in court.
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