Meitheal is a case co-ordination process for families with additional needs who require multi-agency intervention but who do not meet the threshold for referral to the Social Work Department under Children First. Practitioners in different agencies can use and lead on Meitheal so that they can communicate and work together more effectively to bring together a range of expertise, knowledge and skills to meet the needs of the child and family within their community.
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.
Children and families are most likely to do well if they are provided with appropriate support in a timely fashion that is coordinated, and there is good communication and partnership working between professionals. Supporting families and keeping children safe is everyone’s business. Families should experience services as easily accessible and integrated at the front line in their own communities. Meitheal is an early intervention, multi-agency (when necessary) response tailored to the needs of an individual child or young person.