Lifestart Supporting Parents works with a range of partners, primarily with parents/carers as the key people in children’s lives. We work with a range of agencies and services to ensure we can offer, collectively, the best possible range of services to children and their families. We work particularly closely with Public Health Nurses, Family Resource Centres and other family support services. We also work with Tusla, the Child and Family Agency to support work with families experiencing additional stresses.

Meitheal, a model of working in partnership

Lifestart Supporting Parents fully supports, and work with the Meitheal model of family support and continues to encourage and support families to avail of this service. Our staff are fully trained in this model of intervention. Tusla has developed the Meitheal approach to help children where they may need the support of more than one service. 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.

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