Children in Need of Supervision (CINS)

Categories :: Youth Law > Criminal Law, Criminal

A Child In Need of Supervision is youth who commits an offense that, if committed by an adult, would not be a crime. For example; truancy, run-away or "ungovernable."

You are considered a Child in Need of Supervision if you:

  • routinely do not go to school;
  • cannot be controlled by your parents;
  • are a danger to yourself or others;
  • violate curfew; or
  • generally refuse to follow rules ("ungovernable").

Children in Need of Supervision cases are referred to the Department of Juvenile Services. The County Attorney (or City Solicitor) handles these cases; the Prosecutor's Office usually does not get involved.
Read the Law: MD Code Cts. & Jud,. Proc. §3-8A-01

Youth categorized as "Children in Need of Supervision" (CINS) are not alleged delinquent. Delinquent youth are alleged to have committed an offense that, if committed by an adult, would be a crime.

Complaints that a child is a child in need of supervision is received by an intake officer at the juvenile court. Within 25 days, the intake officer decides whether to file a petition requesting a hearing to determine whether the child needs supervision, if informal assistance would be better, or if no action is necessary.
Read the Law: MD Code Crts. & Jud. Proc. §3-8A-10

Under a pilot program, children who are alleged to be in need of supervision who live in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Cecil County, Montgomery County, or Prince George’s County who the intake officer determines are in need of some assistance will be referred to a designated assessment service provider. The assessment service provider will do an assessment of the child's mental state and family and home life and develop a case plan and a case record for the provision of services to the child which may include counseling, alternative school placement and other mental health services. Read the Law: MD Code Crts. & Jud. Proc. §3-8A-10.1

Informal assistance supervised by the intake officer may include mental health services or sustance abuse programs. Informal adjustments cannot last longer than 90 days unless the time is extended by the court or the intake officer determines that additional time is necessary for the child to complete a substance abuse treatment program that is part of the informal adjustment process.

Read the Law: MD Code Crts. & Jud. Proc. §3-8A-10

If the intake officer decides to file a petition, the court will hold an adjudicatory hearing to determine if the child is in need of supervision. In order to assist in making its determination, the court may ask the Department of Juvenile Services to perform a study of the child. Read the Law: MD Code Crts. & Jud. Proc. §§3-8A-16; 3-8A-17

If the court determines that the child is in need of supervision, it will then hold a disposition hearing to determine the amount of supervision the child needs. In making a disposition on a petition under this subtitle, the court may:

  • Place the child on probation or under supervision in his own home or in the custody or under the guardianship of a relative or other fit person;
  • Commit the child to the custody or under the guardianship of the Department of Juvenile Services, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, or a public or licensed private agency on terms that the court considers appropriate;
  • Order the child, parents, guardian, or custodian of the child to participate in rehabilitative services that are in the best interest of the child and the family; or
  • In any county that has established a juvenile justice alternative education program, order the child to attend that program if the child has been suspended, expelled, or identified as a candidate for suspension or expulsion from school.

Read the Law: MD Code Crts. & Jud. Proc. §3-8A-19

Structured Shelter Care

Serves youth who have been removed or displaced from their homes and families and are in need of short term care for up to 90 days. The age range is 12 to 18 years of age. These youth may be Children in Need of Supervision (CINS) and need not be adjudicated delinquent or committed to the DJS. However, the placement is authorized by a court order. For many youth, placement in shelter care is their first contact with DJS. The emphasis of the program is on supervision, case planning, short-term intervention strategies, access to health care, and emotional support while the youth is awaiting return home, a court hearing or more permanent placement.


updated by Errin K. Roby, M.L.S., Associate Law Librarian, Baltimore County Circuit Court Law Library, updated 2012 Michael Craven, State Law Library
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