New Hampshire has become the first state in the country to give preference to grandparents in custody cases involving substance abuse.
The Concord Monitor reports that Republican Gov. Chris Sununu signed a bill Tuesday to make it easier for grandparents to get guardianship.
The change goes into effect in 2018 and comes as New Hampshire, like many other states, is grappling with a steep rise in opioid abuse. New Hampshire child-protection officials also say the number of abuse-and-neglect reports related to substance abuse has increased in recent years.
Republican Rep. Mariellen MacKay, who authored the legislation, says she hopes the new law will keep families together and encourage parents to seek treatment. Some parents have been reluctant to seek treatment over fears they could lose their children.