Expert on reform law to head welfare effort

July 21, 1997


Staff Writer

Rosalind A. Martin used to laugh at people who lived by those little month-by-month calendars.

Today, as assistant director of the Washington County Department of Social Services Family Investment program, Martin carries one herself, and the pages are full.

Martin, 40, supervises 54 caseworkers on the second floor of the social services building at 122 N. Potomac St.

Director of Washington County Department of Social Services David A. Engle said that Martin was the obvious choice for the job.

"She was the most outstanding candidate in a field of 15 people from all over the state. Her strengths are her knowledge of the new welfare reform law - she is certainly the county expert in that area," said Engle, 47.


"Now is an exciting time with the Welfare Reform Act of October 1996 and our new partnership with Hagerstown Junior College," Martin said.

The new act limits the amount of time people can receive public assistance.

"The adult customer should be employed or doing some type of community service within 24 months. After 60 months, most families cannot get cash benefits again," Martin said.

The first goal is to get child support from the absent parent, if there is one. Then the customer must search for a job.

If that fails, the customer is referred to the Work Opportunities program at HJC.

"We have contracted with the junior college to provide work opportunities for our customers," Martin said.

That program started July 1, and the first groups' performances are being evaluated, she said.

Martin went to work for social services in 1982 as a food stamp case worker. Before her recent promotion, Martin had been assistant supervisor of public assistance programs and then, in 1992, was promoted to supervisor of public assistance programs.

Martin said that in her new job, she does many of the things she did as a supervisor, but on a larger scale.

Martin said teamwork and hard work are secrets to success.

"My mom instilled in me that I could do anything I set my mind to. And a strong work ethic - you have to work hard to get things you want. I, in turn, am trying to instill that in my children," said Martin of Spring Mills Farm in Martinsburg, W.Va.

Martin's family members are her husband, Arnold Martin Jr, 40, their children, Jessica, 18, Arnold III, 12 and her mother, Roseline Harshaw, 90.

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