by Ashley Jolissaint, Legal Assistance Attorney
Maryland Safe at Home Address Confidentiality Program (ACP)
The Maryland Safe at Home Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) is a mail forwarding service administered by the Office of the Secretary of State. The Maryland Safe at Home ACP provides an imperative service to victims of domestic violence and human trafficking, ensuring that victims who have relocated, or who are about to relocate, remain safe from their perpetrator by protecting their address, allowing them to feel safe at home once more.
Legislation was enacted in 2006 Maryland Safe at Home ACP legislation was passed in 2006 for the purpose of providing victims with an alternate address with engaging with state and local agencies, ensuring their perpetrators are unable to locate them. The Maryland Safe at Home ACP is free to participants.
Additionally, in December 2018, Maryland adopted the Shielding of Real Property Act which shields ACP participants from having their names on real property records. Additionally, the Shielding of Real Property Act mandates that private entities, such as banks, phone companies, cable companies, insurance companies, and department stores, must accept ACP participants’ addresses.
To enroll, prospective participants must first apply. A victim services professional will then help determine if ACP should be part of a victim’s safety plan. Candidates include victims of domestic violence or human trafficking; parents or guardians of a minor child who fear for a minor child’s safety; or a guardian of a disabled person if the guardian fears for the safety of the disabled person. Once accepted, enrollment is for four years unless the participant or the ACP cancels.
Participants designate the Secretary of State as their agent for service of process and for receipt of mail. Notably, the ACP’s receipt of documents is legally considered the participants receipt of those documents. Thus, a participant is legally responsible for obligations contained in all documents effective upon the ACP’s receipt. When documents are received by the ACP, ACP staff collect and forwards first-class mail, registered mail, certified mail and legal documents to the participant. Magazines and packages are not forwarded by the ACP to participants.
Once enrolled participants should not share their actual address with state or local government agencies, as the participant’s address will likely become public record. Additionally, the ACP has special procedures at the Motor Vehicle Administration, the State Board of Elections, and Public Schools, including community colleges.
For more information about the Maryland Safe at Home Address Confidentiality Program or to apply, call 410-260-3875 or email email@example.com.
The Fort Meade Legal Assistance Division is now representing some clients seeking Civil Protective Orders in Anne Arundel County courts. If you would like to request an attorney consultation with the Fort Meade Legal Assistance Division: please call 301-677-9504/9536 or complete and submit an intake form: