Manuscript Submissions

Advancing a knowledge-into-practice continuum in social work scholarship, Families in Society disseminates innovative research and critical analysis on the broad array of issues that relate to the capabilities of individuals, families, and communities, including consideration of the various biopsychosocial, economic, and cultural factors that affect functioning and well-being. Readers are informed of significant findings and trends through articles on research, policy and theory; direct-practice issues; and the delivery and management of services. In this regard, articles might be informative, instructive, reflective, or controversial.

Families in Society is receptive to many forms of inquiry including quantitative and qualitative. Beyond the relevance of the study itself, a major criterion for publication is the study’s applicability to practice and policy concerns and its accessibility to a variety of professionals in the social work field and related disciplines.

Practice and policy research examples might include:

  • Issues in family and community social work, such as innovation in an outcomes-to-impact approach to working with families, elevating prevention in ecological practice, evidence-based practice and practice-based evidence paradigms, and culturally responsive practice and policy.
  • Service delivery, systems and participant engagement. Topics related to the delivery of services are also relevant, such as person- and family-centric programming, community engagement, training and supervision trends, legal and ethical issues, program evaluation and performance measures, policy development, and interdisciplinary and interagency practice.
  • Making practice better. Of particular interest are critical examinations on the state of the art, the strengths and failings of professional practice, the adequacy of formal education, the limitations of social policy, and future needs. How can a true integration of data, theory, and practice—i.e., translational knowledge—be achieved?

Families in Society and its publisher, the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, are committed to translational research. The journal augments and increases the effectiveness of initiatives related to program development and evaluation, practical learning, staff training, and performance quality improvement by utilizing article-based ancillaries such as webinars, special topic supplements, newsletters, and multimedia content.

Author Guidelines

Submission email: Manuscripts@FamiliesInSociety.org. Submissions should be in word document format (please do not send as a PDF). The page count for the manuscript in its entirety—including abstract; references; and accompanying figures, tables, or appendices—should not exceed 22 pages. Submit the manuscript file(s) using 1-inch margins, double-spaced paragraphs, and 12-point Times New Roman font. 

Provide a cover letter which includes the corresponding author's contact information and a cover sheet with the name, position title, and the affiliation of each author. The next page should include the manuscript title and abstract, limited to 120 words, followed by the body, references, and any tables/figures. As appropriate, a statement regarding approval by the Institutional Review Board should be included in the manuscript body.

The publisher requires the Publisher Agreement (PDF; view the word.docx version) be completed, signed, and returned via email (Manuscripts@FamiliesInSociety.org) or fax (414-359-6721) with the manuscript submission. This ensures an understanding of all copyright conditions and confirms that the work has not been previously published. 

  • The manuscript must adhere to the style of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition
  • Manuscripts should conclude with a detailed and thoughtful "Implications for Practice" section: an analysis or exposition of how the material can appropriately be used in/with rethinking practice settings, formulating policy, informing further research, strengthening the administration of social services agencies, and/or benefiting participants and communities.
  • Contributors are strongly advised to have a statistician or methodological expert review the accuracy of discrete data found in the article text, tables, and figures before submission.
  • Permission authorization and fees for the use of any existing copyrighted material (e.g., fiction/nonfiction text, photos/graphics, poetry, tables, figures, etc.) that are incorporated into a manuscript beyond use permitted by §107 and §108 of the U.S. Copyright Law are the sole responsibility of the author(s). When applicable, signed authorization by the publisher of such works is required at the time of submission.
  • In the References section, all entries for jounal articles should include DOI numbers.
  • Consult the "Checklist for Manuscript Submission," Sec. 8.07, in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition for further guidelines.

Manuscripts not following the above instructions cannot be reviewed until all guidelines have been met.

Peer Review and Disposition Process

Manuscripts are evaluated via a blinded, peer-review process. If the editor judges the submission topic relevant and the above requirements are adhered to, the editor and/or associate editor evaluates the manuscript with 2–3 peer reviewers, who use a journal-specific rubric.

After peer review and disposition, blind copies of the reviewers' forms are given to the author with the disposition details. An anonymous copy of each reviewer form is also available to those peer reviewers for their edification.

Initial disposition averages 3–5 weeks after submission. Certain manuscripts with complex data or atypical topics may require a review period longer than 3 months. 

The acceptance rate is approximately 20% of all manuscripts submitted. Most of these manuscripts are accepted conditionally, pending revisions suggested by the reviewers, editor, or both.

Manuscripts accepted for publication are typically published in the print edition 8–12 months after the initial submission. 

Other Editorial Formats

Families in Society also invites literary formats other than the standard manuscript that readily capture the humanistic qualities of practice. Such formats might include brief commentaries, reports of experiences, reflections on practice, personal essays, narratives, and critical discussions. Please contact the editor before submitting any of these formats.

Research Note

A Research Note reviews a specific research question or design, emphasizing methodological aspects, and summarizes available results and/or application. This format is appropriate for studies that are limited in scope or if there aren’t enough collected data yet for an empirical analysis. The pieces may range between 4–14 double-spaced pages.

Practice Note

Practice Note typically introduces a new or innovative approach to working with individuals, families, and communities which may or may not have already been systematically validated via empirical analysis. The purpose of a Practice Note is to support rapid communication in the field about promising practices or lessons learned, and to stimulate or respond to ongoing discussion and research of such approaches. The pieces may range between 4–14 double-spaced pages.

Field Note

Field Notes serve as a forum for social workers where they can briefly share and comment on their experiences as practitioners, clinicians, and/or administrators; first-person narrative is typically employed. The pieces may range between 4–14 double-spaced pages.

Occasional Essay

Occasional Essays are appropriate when the traditional manuscript format is not appropriate, or when an author wishes to produce a piece that is subjective in tone and content. These pieces may or may not be processed using the peer-review process.

Letters to the Editor

Readers are encouraged to respond to journal articles and voice their opinions in support of, or to counter arguments presented by their peers. Letters to the editor must be signed with contact information, including an email address. All letters will be verified prior to publication.

Families in Society reserves the right to edit letters for length, grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Only letters that are relevant, timely, and concise will be considered for publication. Letters will be published on a space-available basis.

Op-Ed Pieces

Periodically, Families in Society will ask a reader to prepare a response to previous content that is more extensive than the letter format allows. As with letters to the editor, Families in Society reserves the right to edit for length, grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Please contact the editor before preparing an op-ed piece.

Contact Alliance staff with questions or for more information.

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