Children in Need of Supervision (CINS)

Categories :: Criminal, Youth Law > Criminal Law

A Child In Need of Supervision is a child who needs guidance, treatment, or rehabilitation, and falls under one of these categories:

  • must legally go to school, but routinely does not;
  • regularly cannot be controlled by the child’s parents, guardians, or custodians,
  • acts in a way that is dangerous to self or others, or
  • has committed an offense applicable only to children (like truancy, run-away, curfew violation, or alcohol violation.).

Read the Law:  MD Code Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art. § 3-8A-01(e). 

A Child in Need of Supervision is not a delinquent child.

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

Pilot Program in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Cecil County, Montgomery County, or Prince George’s County

Under a pilot program in these locations, when an intake officer determines that a child needs services, the officer will refer the child to a designated assessment service provider.  The assessment service provider will assess the child's school performance, emotional and physical health, family and home life, and peer relationships.  The provider will develop a case record and a case plan to provide services to the child.  These services may include counseling, alternative school placement, job training, mediation services, substance abuse counseling, family counseling and other mental health services.

Read the Law: MD Code Cts. & Jud. Proc. §3-8A-10.1

Under the pilot program, the intake officer may not propose filing a petition, peace order or recommend informal adjustment for a child in need of services unless the assessment service provider has filed a report with the intake officer stating that he or she has met with the child and family and that all attempts to provide services have failed.

Read the Law: MD Code Cts. & Jud. Proc. §3-8A-10.1


If the intake officer files a petition, it will be filed in the juvenile court. A child alleged to be a Child in Need of Supervision may not be placed in detention or in a state mental health facility.  A Child in Need of Supervision may be placed in shelter care.

The juvenile court will hold a hearing to determine if the facts alleged in the petition are true.  An appropriate government agency presents the evidence.  In Child in Need of Supervision cases, the allegations must be proved by a preponderance of the evidence (a common civil standard), and do not need to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt (the usual criminal standard).  In a delinquency case, a child can assert his 5th Amendment right to speak or to remain silent, and his silence cannot be held against him – but in Child in Need of Supervision cases, the 5th Amendment does not apply.

Read the Law: MD Code Cts. & Jud. Proc. §§3-8A-13; § 3-8A-18

If the court determines that the facts in the petition are true, it will hold a disposition hearing to determine if the child requires the court’s intervention, and if so, the nature of that intervention. A child who is not a delinquent may not be committed or transferred to a facility used for the confinement of delinquent children.  However, a Child in Need of Supervision may be placed in a facility that treats a mixture of children, including delinquents.  If a Child in Need of Supervision runs away from a placement or otherwise disobeys a court order, the child cannot be detained or confined. 

Read the Law: Md. Code Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art.  §§ 3-8A-19 and 3-8A-22.

Restitution is not available in a Child in Need of Supervision case, but the court may issue an order controlling conduct, i.e., to order parents to participate in counseling; violation of the order may be punishable by contempt. 

Read the Law: Md. Code Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art. §§ 3-8A-26 and 3-8A-28.

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