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Featuring contributions from practitioners, researchers, and academics, this volume synthesizes and analyzes current trends in rural social work practice and considers the most effective ways to serve rural communities. Contributors consider the history and development of rural social work from its beginnings to the present day, addressing the value of the Internet and other new information technologies in helping clients. They also examine the effects of nonprofit organizations and welfare reform on poor rural areas. Coverage of specific client populations and fields of practice includes services for rural mental healthcare; the chronically mentally ill; healthcare for minorities; and the challenges faced by the elderly in rural areas. The contributors also consider issues affecting gays and lesbians living in rural communities and the role of religiosity and social support in the well-being of HIV/AIDS clients. The book concludes with a consideration of the unique issues associated with educating social workers for rural practice.