About Statutes

This page accesses the Code of Maryland (Statutes) and the Maryland Municipal Charters and Resolutions as compiled and maintained by the Department of Legislative Services.

The Code is arranged by and organized into “Articles” (e.g. Transportation Article), which are further subdivided into “titles”, “subtitles”, “sections”, “subsections”, “paragraphs”, subparagraphs”, etc.

Note that the “official” compilation of the laws (Chapters) enacted at each session of the General Assembly is published by the State as the “Laws of Maryland”, commonly referred to as the “Session Laws”. The Session Laws for each session are compiled chronologically by chapter number and serve as the source law from which the statutes accessed here are derived.

While the “Laws of Maryland” (Session Laws) constitute the official laws of the State, this Code and the annotated versions noted below are accepted as “evidence” of the law in all State courts and by all public offices and officials (See § 10-201 of the Courts & Judicial Proceedings Article). However, in the event of a conflict between the Code and the Session Laws, the Session Laws prevail.

Note: Annotated versions of the Code, published by LexisNexis and West, are available in book and online formats. These Annotated Codes include references to case law, related citations, and explanatory notations.

The Municipal Charters are updated each year by incorporating all charter resolutions received by the Department through May 31 of that year. Individual Municipal Resolutions are published to the General Assembly website as they are received by the Department.



Statute Text

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Article - Courts and Judicial Proceedings
§3–812.  
(a)    (1)   In this section the following words have the meanings indicated, unless the context of their use indicates otherwise.
(2)   “Abandon” means to leave a child without any provision for support and without any person who has accepted long–term responsibility to maintain care and have custody and control of the child when:
(i)   The whereabouts of the parent or guardian are unknown; and
(ii)   The local department has made reasonable efforts to locate the parent or guardian over a period of at least 6 months and has been unsuccessful.
(3)   “Crime of violence”:
(i)   Has the meaning stated in § 14–101 of the Criminal Law Article; or
(ii)   As to a crime committed in another state, means a crime that, if committed in this State, would be a crime of violence as defined in § 14–101 of the Criminal Law Article.
(4)   “Torture” means to cause intense pain to body or mind for purposes of punishment or extraction of information or for sadistic purposes.
(b)   In a petition under this subtitle, a local department may ask the court to find that reasonable efforts to reunify a child with the child’s parent or guardian are not required if the local department concludes that a parent or guardian:
(1)   Has subjected the child to any of the following aggravated circumstances:
(i)   The parent or guardian has engaged in or facilitated:
1.   Chronic or severe physical abuse of the child, a sibling of the child, or another child in the household;
2.   Chronic and life–threatening neglect of the child, a sibling of the child, or another child in the household;
3.   Sexual abuse of the child, a sibling of the child, or another child in the household; or
4.   Torture of the child, a sibling of the child, or another child in the household;
(ii)   The parent or guardian knowingly failed to take appropriate steps to protect the child after a person in the household inflicted sexual abuse, severe physical abuse, life–threatening neglect, or torture on the child or another child in the household;
(iii)   The child, a sibling of the child, or another child in the household has suffered severe physical abuse or death resulting from abuse by the parent or guardian or another adult in the household and all persons who could have inflicted the abuse or caused the death remain in the household; or
(iv)   The parent or guardian has abandoned the child;
(2)   Has been convicted, in any state or any court of the United States, of:
(i)   A crime of violence against:
1.   A minor offspring of the parent or guardian;
2.   The child; or
3.   Another parent or guardian of the child; or
(ii)   Aiding or abetting, conspiring, or soliciting to commit a crime described in item (i) of this item; or
(3)   Has involuntarily lost parental rights of a sibling of the child.
(c)   If the local department determines after the initial petition is filed that any of the circumstances specified in subsection (b) of this section exists, the local department may immediately request the court to find that reasonable efforts to reunify the child with the child’s parent or guardian are not required.
(d)   If the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that any of the circumstances specified in subsection (b) of this section exists, the court shall waive the requirement that reasonable efforts be made to reunify the child with the child’s parent or guardian.
(e)   If the court finds that reasonable efforts are not required, the local department shall:
(1)   Request that a permanency planning hearing be held in accordance with § 3–823 of this subtitle within 30 days after the court makes the finding; and
(2)   Make reasonable efforts to place the child in a timely manner in accordance with the permanency plan and complete the steps necessary to finalize the permanent placement of the child.
(f)   If a parent consents to guardianship or adoption in accordance with § 5–320 or § 5–338 of the Family Law Article, loss of parental rights shall be considered voluntary.