Based in London, fabtic is run by Joanna Foster, who is highly experienced in working with at-risk children, providing case supervision, managing front-line staff and supervising volunteers.
After graduating from Magdalen College, Oxford, Joanna gained over sixteen years’ experience of working in the public, charitable and voluntary sectors, both in the UK and overseas. In her ten years of managing the London Fire Brigade’s Juvenile Firesetters Intervention Scheme (JFIS), Joanna became recognised as a leading specialist in the field of child-set fires.
As JFIS manager, Joanna worked with hundreds of London’s most at-risk children and families, and re-shaped the service in line with statutory requirements to ensure the highest possible standards for clients and staff. Joanna worked closely with the London Child Protection Committee to introduce juvenile firesetting behaviour into the London Child Protection Procedures for the first time.
Whilst JFIS Manager, Joanna looked after a team of full-time and volunteer staff, and delivered firesetter training to personnel from a range of Fire and Rescue Services (FRSs) across England, front-line staff from Greenwich Children and Families Social Care, the MET police, and trainers at the Fire Service College. In 2010, Joanna’s work with two clients was filmed as part of the BBC2 documentary series Wonderland, in an episode entitled ‘The Kids That Play With Fire’.
In June 2013 left the London Fire Brigade and launched fabtic, a company specialising in juvenile firesetting behaviour. Joanna now delivers training, consultancy and supervision services to front-line practitioners, and continues her direct client work with children and teenagers who set fires (working both privately and via public sector organisations).
Joanna has now delivered training to 44 UK FRSs since the launch of fabtic, along with training staff from CAMHS, NHS, HMPPS, YOT and the fields of forensic psychology, police, education, social services, academia, arts therapies, secure units and mental health services, both in the UK and the US. She is co-author of a chapter on juvenile firesetting in the ‘US Handbook of Behavioral Criminology’ with Professor David Kolko.
Joanna regularly speaks at national and international conferences on the subjects of juvenile firesetting and children’s safeguarding in the UK, Ireland, Scandinavia, New Zealand and the US, hosted by the Forensic Science Society, the Federation of European Union Fire Officer Associations, the Institution of Fire Engineers, the International Association of Arson Investigators, the New Zealand Fire Service, and Gardners Associates.
Joanna is trained in restorative practice and is a member of the CPD Standards Office, authorised to deliver CPD certificated and accredited courses. She is committed to constantly pushing herself to be the best practitioner she can be, gaining a Post Graduate Certificate (PGC) in Child, Adolescent and Family Mental Health and now studying for a Master’s in Applied Criminology, Penology and Management at the University of Cambridge.
Continuing to attract media attention for her work, in October 2016 Joanna featured in the ‘Financial Times’ in an article entitled ‘I Stop Children Setting Fires’. In 2017 she was commissioned by Jessica Kingsley Publishers to write a book for practitioners and parents on juvenile firesetting; ‘Children and Teenagers who Set Fires: Why they do it and how to help’ will be released on 21 October 2019.