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Meitheal is an old Irish term that describes how neighbours would come together to assist in the saving of crops or other tasks. In this context Meitheal is a National Practice Model to ensure that the needs and strengths of children and their families are effectively identified and understood and responded to in a timely way so that children and families get the help and support needed to improve children’s outcomes and realise their rights’   – Tusla, Child and Family Agency

The North Kerry Child and Family Support Network oversees the Meitheal process on behalf of the Children’s Services Committee and the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) for all of North Kerry. The North Kerry Child and Family Support Network is a multi-agency group that works together to develop and co-ordinate packages of support to children aged 0-18years and their families.

The following content is taken from the Tusla Children & Family Agency Website . .

Why would my family need Meitheal?

Preventing problems from arising or getting worse is better than dealing with them later. Meitheal can help stop current challenges from getting any worse for a child/young person.

If a child/young person has additional needs, or is facing challenges that are difficult to overcome, and families are finding it hard to access the support necessary to help them, Meitheal may be able to help.

Examples of the challenges that Meitheal could help with are:

  • problems at school
  • a child feeling down
  • parents and children not getting on
  • family problems
  • coping with illness or bereavement
  • difficult behaviour
  • worrying a lot
Parents and children/young people may already be receiving support from different services but it may be difficult to deal with all of them at once. Meitheal can help to get the support that is best for a child/young person, in a co-ordinated manner.

How Meitheal works?

The first step is for a supportive person from one of the child and family services in the local area, called a Lead Practitioner, to sit down with the parent and child/young person to identify the child’s needs and strengths. The child and family may need one particular service or may need a group of services to come together to provide the support needed to improve the family’s wellbeing. The Lead Practitioner works with the parent and child/young person to put in place a plan and can arrange the services needed.

The child/young person and their parent(s) participate in putting that plan into action, in reviewing it and in deciding when needs have been met.

Where do I start?

Listowel Family Resource Centre is a partner in this process and we can support you and give you more information.

If you already access any kind of child and family service you can ask the person you are currently dealing with to be your Lead Practitioner and to organise a Meitheal.

To view our Meitheal Children's Leaflet or Meitheal Parent's Leaflet click below to download: