Practice Guidelines for Initial Consultations

Joanna North Associates Ltd – Adoption Support Agency

Updated June 2020

Aim of Practice Notes:

The Initial Consultation is the opportunity to establish whether or not the client is able to embark on the demanding journey of finding a birth relative that may end in disappointment or may be emotionally demanding for them.  We also have to establish whether or not they can afford the costs involved and whether or not this is over-stretching their resources.  The guidelines are established to help us exercise our Duty of Care and abide by POVA regulations (Protection of Vulnerable Adults) particularly for those struggling with enduring mental health conditions, learning difficulty or those without support around them.  This does not preclude or exclude people from this process, and we do not wish to discriminate but we have to think together about whether or not people have the capacity to care for themselves in this process.

Questions to help gather this information

Mental Health

  1. Current mental health diagnosis or medication.
  2. Any detainment under mental health act in life time? 
  3. Any mental health vulnerability that we should know about that will help us to help the client.  i.e. current depression or anxiety.
  4. Working with a mentally health crisis team currently?
  5. Under the care of a Psychiatrist.
  6. Currently an In patient in a hospital setting.
  7. Currently cared for under the NHS for mental health.
  8. Struggles with anxiety or Stress.
  9. Ever been suicidal. 


  1. Is the person currently only living on benefits or living in hardship? 
  2. Will the cost of the process cause them financial hardship?
  3. Are they fully aware of the cost process? 

Learning Difficulty

  1. Does the person have any difficulty with learning that may mean they will need extra support from us?
  2. Do they appear to be able to understand this process?
  3. If not do we need to consider if someone can support them. 

Work with Probation

  1. Is the person currently on remand from a sentence?
  2. Are they currently working with a probation officer?
  3. If yes, do we need to work with probation in order to help them? 


  1. Is this person elderly and living alone?
  2. Is this person very young, underage or living alone without support? 

Support in Life

  1. Does the adoptive parents approve and are they helpful?
  2. Do the clients immediate family approve i.e. partner and or children.
  3. Does the person have a best friend who will support them?
  4. Does the person have a relative who will support them?
  5. Is there any other service that would support them?

Feelings about Rejection by Birth Relative

  1. On discussing this with them do they appear to be unable to entertain this idea.
  2. Are they going to blame us if we can’t find the relative?
  3. How would they imagine they will deal with these feelings?
  4. What would they like us to do to help them with these feelings?
  5. Who would they be able to turn to for help with these feelings?

Any of the above issues do not stop us from working with a client.  It just means we have to put extra support in place.  But we have to be clear about the problems so that we can help in the right way.