Tusla defines Meitheal as ‘a national practice model to ensure that the needs and strengths of children and their families are effectively identified, 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 to realise their rights’ (Gillen et al., 2013: 1).
“The Meitheal model looks at the whole child in a holistic manner, in the context of their family and environment. It takes into account strengths and resilience, as well as challenges and needs.” This clearly implies that the Meitheal model advocates a relational approach. It does not just examine challenges and needs but allows practitioners to explore individual and family tenacity in order to help improve children’s outcomes.
A critical element of Meitheal is the relationship between the lead practitioner and the family who are participating. Lead practitioners are responsible for initiating a Meitheal with a family and “act as a source of ongoing support in the families’ engagement with services, and provide practical assistance”
To read the report in full and see how the introduction of Meitheal has heightened the visibility of the early intervention work that Tusla carries out with families please click here.