Rita was a social worker was assigned to Paddy Kirk and Rhona Goskirk after Rhona decided she wanted another child. She visited Paddy and Rhona's house Smithy Cottage in December 2015 for a meeting. During the meeting, Paddy received a text and hurried off. They rearranged the meeting for the following day. When Rita arrived for the meeting next day she overheard Paddy talking with business partner Vanessa Woodfield and Paddy accidentally revealed Rhona's past prescription drug addiction. She talked to Rhona about what she heard, and Rhona explained she has been clean for over two years. Rita told her that past addictions don't usually affect adoptions, but she needed to be able to trust potential adoptive parents, which she didn't with Rhona and Paddy.
In January 2016, Rita interviewed Paddy and Rhona's friends and family who they had nominated as references. Paddy's surrogate son Aaron Livesy gave them a glowing reference, including explaining how Paddy never gave up on him even when he beat him up. Teaching assistant Tess Harris and business partner Vanessa Woodfield also gave Paddy and Rhona good references. Paddy and Rhona's receptionist Pearl Ladderbanks accidentally let slip to Rita about Rhona's lesbian stage. After learning of Paddy and Tess' affair, Aaron told Rita he was unsure Paddy and Rhona were going to stay together as he didn't want a child to go through a divorce like he did. Aaron's words jeopardize the adoption, albeit temporarily, but Rhona calls off the adoption and separates from Paddy, after learning of his affair with Tess.