Voluntary Minor 

        A parent or guardian in the state of Maryland can authorize the psychiatric hospitalization and treatment of a child or adolescent under the age of 18 by signing a Voluntary Minor Agreement form at an appropriate hospital. If the child meets hospital admission criteria and is accepted by the admitting physician, the child can be required to be hospitalized even if he or she does not wish to be admitted. The parent or guardian agrees to work with the treatment team to allow the child to remain in treatment until the doctor believes it is appropriate to release the patient. If the parent or guardian who signs the patient in wishes to discharge the patient earlier, they must give the hospital a 3 day or 72 hour written notice. The treating physician may seek physicianís certificates to require the patient to remain in the hospital if he or she believes releasing the patient could present a danger to the patient or someone else. Usually parents and the treatment team will agree on the patientís release date and appropriate aftercare treatment once the patient is in the community. If a parent or guardian is not available or if the adolescent is over the age of 16 and is not willing to sign a voluntary agreement, hospitalization can be sought through Emergency Petition and/or Physicianís Certificates.

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