The West Virginia University Press has announced the forthcoming release ofWelfare Reform in West Virginia.

The book, written by several current and former WVU scholars studying welfare, examines the situation in West Virginia, one of the nations most impoverished states. Slated to be released in August, the book gives a detailed and comprehensive analysis of West Virginias implementation of welfare reform.

Welfare has been one of the most heavily debated and criticized governmental programs. In more recent years, this debate has focused on education and job training programs, rather than focusing on immediate job placement of welfare recipients.

The authors, in particular, look at the 1996 welfare reform law, which emphasizes work first and contains a variety of provisions designed to make welfare recipientschange their ways.

Implementation of this legislation resulted in a dramatic decrease of welfare cases in West Virginia. The decline led policymakers to ask what happened to the individuals who were once dependent on government cash assistance.

The authors were asked to conduct comprehensive statewide surveys designed to assess the experiences of those individuals who had left and those that remained on WV WORKS , West Virginias new welfare program.

These surveys found that many of the respondents were experiencing financial difficulties, had limited job prospects and still required assistance provided by the states safety net.

Welfare Reform in West Virginiawill be of great interest not only to West Virginians, but to anyone interested in welfare reform nationwide.

According to the authors, studying welfare reform in a predominately rural state such as West Virginia is of national interest because most research to date has been conducted in urban areas, despite the fact that one-third of welfare recipients live in rural locations. Rural residents

face much more challenging job market conditions, because job opportunities are more scarce in rural areas, and they have a longer daily commute to their workplace. They are also more likely to be subject to persistent poverty because of these and other circumstances.

Although predominately rural, West Virginia also contains several urban areas making it an ideal place for the authors to better compare and contrast the experiences of welfare recipients across the board. As a result,Welfare Reform in West Virginiaoffers a more comprehensive assessment of administrative responses to significant policy change than is usually found in most other studies.

West Virginians have experienced multiple socioeconomic hardships for many years, and these hardships make West Virginia an especially interesting place for testing welfare reforms efficacy in helping recipients leave and stay off welfare,said Melissa Latimer, one of the authors.

The other authors are Robert Jay Dilger, Eleanor H. Blakely, Barry L. Locke, F. Carson Mencken, L. Christopher Plein, Lucinda A. Potter and David Williams.

For more information about this book or any of the titles published by WVU Press , call toll free 1-866-WVU-PRESS (988-7737) or