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.
Over her decade with the fire brigade Joanna became recognised nationally and overseas as a leading specialist in the field of child-set fires, working with hundreds of London’s most vulnerable children and families. Re-shaping frontline delivery to adhere with statutory requirements and ensure the highest possible standards for families 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. As manager, Joanna looked after a team of full-time and volunteer staff, and delivered firesetting intervention training to personnel across a range of fire and rescue services, 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’.
Three years later Joanna left the London Fire Brigade and launched fabtic, a company specialising in firesetting behaviour by children. Joanna now delivers training, consultancy and supervision services to front-line practitioners and managers, and continues her direct client work with children and teenagers who set fires, working both privately with families and for public sector organisations.
Joanna has delivered training to 45 of the 52 fire services since the launch of fabtic, along with training practitioners and clinicians from CAMHS, NHS, HMPPS, YOT, forensic psychology, police, education, social care, academia, arts therapies, secure units and adult mental health services, both in the UK and the US.
Joanna has spoken about child firesetting and children’s safeguarding at national and international conferences held in the UK, Ireland, Scandinavia, New Zealand and the US, as 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.
Trained in restorative practice, Joanna is a member of the CPD Standards Office and 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 more recently achieving a distinction in her 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’. She is co-author of a chapter on juvenile firesetting in the ‘US Handbook of Behavioral Criminology’ with Professor David Kolko and 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’, which was released on 21 October 2019.
Alongside her academic studies, writing, training and work with families Joanna is immensely proud to currently support 40 frontline staff and managers with regular supervision, and to be acting as an expert witness for the Innocence Project, British Columbia.
In the Media
See Joanna’s work featured on the BBC and in the Financial Times
Read more about Joanna’s publications and writing projects
Access Joanna’s thesis exploring the identification of risk and need in children who set fires