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Bill Proposes Grandparents Get a Say in Guardianship Cases

NHPR Staff

A new bill proposing that grandparents play a bigger role in guardianship cases involving their grandchildren had its first hearing at the State House Tuesday.

Lawmakers were surprised by how few people showed up to testify on a bill that would allow grandparents a say in guardianship proceedings for grandchildren whose parents struggle with substance abuse – advocates like MaryLou Beaver claim that’s because this bill is a no-brainer.

"Grandparents have no rights to speak or advocate for what is best for their grandchildren in court," said Beaver, Executive Director of Every Child Matters NH, "And they have no recourse when passing their grandchildren back into what they know are unsafe situations."

If passed, this legislation will give grandparents standing in New Hampshire courts in guardianship cases when parental substance abuse is involved.

Over 10,000 New Hampshire children currently live in grandparent-headed households. State health officials say the ongoing substance abuse crisis is behind many of those cases.

Hannah McCarthy first came to NHPR an intern in 2015, returned as a Fellow the following year and then bounced around as a reporter and producer before landing as co-host of Civics 101. She has reported on everything from the opioid epidemic to State House politics to haunted woods of New Hampshire.

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