Reasonable Efforts to Preserve or Reunify Families and Achieve Permanency for Children - Maryland

Date: September 2019

What Are Reasonable Efforts

Citation: Family Law § 5-525(c)

The Department of Human Resources shall provide time-limited family reunification services to a child placed in an out-of-home placement and to the parent or guardian of the child in order to facilitate the child's safe and appropriate reunification in a timely manner.

When Reasonable Efforts Are Required

Citation: Family Law § 5-525(e)

Reasonable efforts shall be provided to preserve or reunify a family, as follows:

  • Prior to an out-of-home placement to prevent or eliminate the need for removing the child from home
  • To make it possible for a child to return home safely
  • To finalize a permanent placement for the child if continuation of reasonable efforts is determined to be inconsistent with the permanency plan

When Reasonable Efforts Are NOT Required

Citation: Courts & Jud. Proc. § 3-812(b)

A local department may ask the court to find that reasonable efforts to reunify a child with the child's parent are not required if the local department concludes that any of the following are true:

  • The parent has subjected the child to any of the following aggravated circumstances:
    • The parent has engaged in or facilitated chronic or severe physical abuse, chronic and life-threatening neglect, sexual abuse, or torture of the child, a sibling of the child, or another child in the household.
    • The parent 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.
    • 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 another adult in the household, and all persons who could have inflicted the abuse or caused the death remain in the household.
    • The parent has abandoned the child.
  • The parent has been convicted, in any State or any court of the United States, of any of the following:
    • A crime of violence against a minor offspring of the parent or guardian, the child, or another parent of the child
    • Aiding or abetting, conspiring, or soliciting to commit a crime of violence
  • The parent has involuntarily lost parental rights of a sibling of the child.

The term 'crime of violence' includes abduction, arson, kidnapping, manslaughter, mayhem, maiming, rape, robbery, carjacking, sexual offenses, use of a handgun in the commission of a felony or other crime of violence, first-degree child abuse, and assault.