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Families in Society

Families in Society

The Journal of Contemporary Social Services
Published in Association with Social Current

eISSN: 19451350 | ISSN: 10443894 | Current volume: 105 | Current issue: 1 Frequency: Quarterly

Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services (FIS), the first journal of social work research, has been published for over 100 years and has made an enduring impact on innovation and inquiry into the art, science, and practice of social work. A core journal in the field, FIS focuses on micro and macro practice that fosters whole-person well-being and helps individuals, families, and communities to thrive.

Stewarded by Social Current (formerly Alliance for Strong Families and Communities) and published by SAGE Publishing, FIS was created by Mary E. Richmond in 1920 to capture the first systematized methods of social work. The journal has a long-standing focus on biopsychosocial and systemic factors that affect functioning, well-being, and opportunity across the lifespan. Included are analysis, theory, and investigation; quantitative and qualitative studies; direct-practice issues; and assessment of service delivery and management. Content might be explanatory, instructive, reflective, or provocative.

Over the years, the journal has had four titles:

  • The Family (1920-1946)
  • The Journal of Social Casework (1947-1949)
  • Social Casework (1950-1989)
  • Families in Society (1990 to present)

FIS prioritizes content on social work’s person- and family-in-environment approach to health and safety, growth and development, and autonomy and self-determinism. The interdisciplinary readership of the journal represents social services, child welfare, health care and behavioral/mental health, education, workforce development, housing, and many other allied fields.

100 Years of Editorial Leadership

Year

Editor-in-Chief

1920

Mary E. Richmond and Helen P. Kempton

1921–1925

David H. Holbrook

1926–1939

Margaret E. Rich

1940–1942

Maurine Boise LaBarre

1943–1947

Florence Hollis

1948–1950

Cora Kasius

1951

Mildred Frank

1952–1964

Cora Kasius

1965–1969

Elinor P. Zaki

1970–1977

Margaret M. Mangold

1978–1981

Jacqueline M. Atkins

1982–1986

Robert Elfers

1987–1997

Ralph Burant

1998–2000

Howard Goldstein

2001–2011

William E. Powell

2012–2014

Susan E. Mason

2015–2022

Sondra J. Fogel



About Social Current:
The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities and Council on Accreditation have joined to form Social Current. Together with thousands of social-sector leaders, we will activate the power of the sector to create a unified, intrepid, just, and purposeful network so that all people can thrive. We are partners working toward a common goal to ignite change for an equitable society.

As it works to expand the impact of its national network, Social Current also pursues an agenda of systemic reform rooted in social justice and equity. It advances policy recommendations at the national and state levels, and strategically mobilizes its network to influence the systems and sectors that can together ensure that all people have the opportunity to live safe, healthy, and fulfilling lives.

Visit social-current.org for more information.

Aims and Scope

Advancing translational research in social work scholarship, Families in Society focuses on micro and macro practice that fosters whole-person well-being and helps individuals, families, and communities to thrive. Examined are the biopsychosocial and systemic factors that affect functioning, health, equity, and opportunity across the lifespan, with areas of inquiry that include analysis, theory, and investigation; quantitative and qualitative studies; direct-practice issues; and innovation in service delivery and agency management. Content might be explanatory, instructive, reflective, or provocative.

Published by SAGE Publishing in partnership with Social Current (formerly Alliance for Strong Families and Communities), the journal prioritizes research that should be accessible and applicable to all who wish to co-create positive change with and for children, youth, and adults everywhere. Practical knowledge should ideally increase the effectiveness of program development and evaluation, professional learning, and performance quality improvement.

The journal 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. 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, technology associated with practice, and interdisciplinary and interagency practice.
  • Making practice better. Of particular interest are critical examinations on the state of the art, the strengths and challenges of professional practice, the adequacy of formal education, the limitations of social policy, ethics, and future needs. How can a true integration of data, theory, and practice—i.e., translational knowledge—be achieved?

 

Editor-in-Chief
Cristina Mogro-Wilson University of Connecticut, Hartford, CT, USA
Associate Editor
Jeremiah W. Jaggers University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA
Editorial Board
Adugna Abebe University of Gondar,Ethiopia
Kess Ballentine Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA
Anita P. Barbee University of Louisville, KY, USA
Carenlee Barkdull University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND, USA
Carol L. Cleaveland George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA
Angelique Day University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
Robert L. Hawkins North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA
Wynne Korr University of Illinois, Champaign, IL, USA
Alysse M. Loomis The University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA
Kristina Lovato University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA
Christina N. Marsack-Topolewski Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI, USA
Branden A. McLeod University of Illinois Chicago, IL, USA
Mary Sormanti Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
Fred Wulczyn Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
Methodological Review Committee
Kess Ballentine, Chair Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA
Hui Huang University of Texas at Arlington, TX, USA
Alysse M. Loomis The University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA
Kristina Lovato University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA
Melanie Sonsteng- Person University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA
Abha Rai Loyola University Chicago, IL, USA
Svetlana Yampolskaya University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA
Social Current – President and CEO
Jody Levison-Johnson Social Current, USA
Social Current – Director, Knowledge and Insights Center
Kirstin Anderson Social Current, USA
Social Current – Board of Directors
Annette Rodriguez Around the Corner Consulting
Gary Blau The Hackett Center for Mental Health
Reuben Rotman Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies
Adria Johnson Metro United Way
Bob Bailey Truth Collective
Ralph Bayard Casey Family Programs
Father Steven Boes Father Flanagan's Boys Home
Alexandra Cawthorne Gaines JP Morgan Chase Policy Center
Richard Cohen Philadelphia Public Health Management Corp.
Melissa Devlin National Technical Assistance Center on Grandfamilies and Kinship Families
Sam Jackson Lincoln International, LLC
Donald Layden NCR
Charles Montorio-Archer One Hope United
Arabella Perez National Association of Social Workers
Edgar Ramirez Chicago Commons
Michelle Sanborn Children’s Alliance
Tracy Wareing Evans American Public Health Human Services Association
  • Clarivate Analytics: Social Science Citation Index
  • EBSCO
  • ProQuest
  • PsycINFO
  • Scopus
  • Author Guidelines

    Advancing a translational research in social work scholarship, Families in Society focuses on micro and macro practice that fosters whole-person well-being and helps individuals, families, and communities to thrive. Examined are the biopsychosocial and systemic factors that affect functioning, health, equity, and opportunity across the lifespan, with areas of inquiry that include analysis, theory, and investigation; quantitative and qualitative studies; direct-practice issues; and innovation in service delivery and agency management. Content might be explanatory, instructive, reflective, or provocative.

    Practice and policy 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 , 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 challenges 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 is receptive to other forms of inquiry such as Practice Notes, Research Notes, At the Agency, and others (see below). 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. Authors should articulate how the findings from a study have implications for practice at the micro, mezzo, and/or macro level(s).

    AI Policy

    Families in Society recognizes the value and potential scientific contribution that generative artificial intelligence and artificial intelligence - assisted technologies (AI) offer researchers and practitioners. However, we also acknowledge the potential problems that arise from its misuse.

    Author(s) whose studies employ AI and similar technologies in any way must:

    1) Disclose its use.

    2) Provide a citation for the software utilized, and detail how it was used in the research process.

    In addition, using AI should be done cautiously, with oversight by a qualified researcher. All work generated using AI should be carefully reviewed to ensure that accuracy of the results, and to minimize unintended bias. Authors are encouraged to provide an appendix with all queries requested of the AI software as it pertains to the manuscript. 

    Families in Society strongly discourages the use of AI in composing the manuscript. Artificial intelligence systems should not be credited as an author, and each author is responsible for the accuracy, integrity, and findings associated with the use of AI. For more detail, please refer to Sage Journals' Publication policy regarding the use of ChatGPT and Generative AI. 

    Submission Instructions

    Submissions should be in Microsoft Word document format. Format the manuscript file(s) using 1-inch margins, double-spaced paragraphs, and 12-point Times New Roman font. Tables must be formatted using rows, columns, and cells (i.e., no tabs or paragraph returns). Figures and graphics should be in a high-resolution format (at least 300 dpi).

    The entire page count for the manuscript—including abstract; references; and accompanying figures, tables, or appendices—should not exceed 40 pages. However, authors may contact the Editor to request consideration for more pages prior to submission. Authors may request or be asked to provide supporting documentation of their work, if accepted for publication, which would be available as online supplemental material.

    • The manuscript must adhere to the style of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Seventh Edition.
    • Provide a cover letter that clearly states the following for each co-author separately, please use the hyperlinks to find resources for your conflict of interest and funding statements:
      • Salutation
      • Name
      • Credentials (if applicable)
      • Position Title(s) (if applicable)
      • Professional Affiliation (if applicable)
      • Mailing/Contact Address
      • Email
      • Conflict of Interest Statement
      • Funding Statement

    In a separate Word document, please provide the following anonymized sections: The manuscript title and abstract, limited to 120 words, followed by the body of the manuscript, references, and any tables/figures.

    • As appropriate, a statement regarding approval by the Institutional Review Board should be included in the manuscript body.
    • 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 community-based organizations, and/or benefiting participants and communities.
    • Qualitative research manuscripts, at a minimum, should specify the methodological approach and analytical process, and must provide sufficient data to support the authors’ conclusions.
    • 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.
    • In the References section, all entries for journal articles should include DOI numbers.
    • Consult the "Checklist for Manuscript Submission," in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Seventh Edition for further guidelines.

    Permission authorization and fees for the republication or reuse of any existing copyrighted material (e.g., fiction/nonfiction text, photos/graphics, poetry, tables, figures, etc.) in the 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 and/or copyright owner of such works is required at the time of submission.

    Families in Society recognizes the value and potential scientific contribution that generative artificial intelligence and artificial intelligence–assisted technologies (AI) offer researchers and practitioners. However, we also acknowledge the potential problems that arise from its misuse. 

    Authors(s) whose studies employ AI and similar technologies in any way must: 

    1. Disclose its use

    2. Provide a citation for the software utilized, and detail how it was used in the research process.

    In addition, using AI should be done cautiously, with oversight by a qualified researcher. 
    All work generated using AI should be carefully reviewed to ensure the accuracy of the results, and to minimize unintended bias. Authors are encouraged to provide an appendix with all queries requested of the AI software as it pertains to the manuscript.

    Families in Society strongly discourages the use of AI in composing the manuscript. Artificial intelligence systems should not be credited as an author, and each author is responsible for the accuracy, integrity, and findings associated with the use of AI. For more detail, please refer to Sage Journal's Publication policy regarding the use of ChatGPT and Generative AI

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

    Peer Review and Disposition Process

    Manuscripts are evaluated via an anonymized 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. In addition, the Editor may assign the manuscript to be reviewed by the methodological review committee.

    After peer review and disposition, anonymize 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 3–4 weeks after submission. Certain manuscripts with complex data or atypical topics may require a review period longer than 2 months.

    The acceptance rate is approximately 20% of all manuscripts submitted. Most manuscripts receive an initial disposition of revise and resubmit, taking into account suggestions by the reviewers, Editor, or both.

    Manuscripts accepted for publication are typically published online after 20 days and in the print edition 6–8 months after the initial submission.

    Special Series 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 research, practice, policy and 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

    A 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.

     

    Policy Brief

    Policy Brief is a short 4-6 double-spaced document that summarizes a current topic/issue or social problem in a critical area and presents recommendations for policymakers. The Policy Brief will serve as a way to provide evidence-based policy advice. The Policy Brief should include a clear description of the issue or problem, the cause, effects, and perspectives on evaluating the problem. It should detail findings in plain language and draws clear linkages to policy recommendations/initiatives. 

    Field Note

    A Field Note serves 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.

    At the Agency

    This format specifically details fundamental aspects of organizational administration, community practice, workforce development, or programmatic innovation and design. 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

    Please reach out to Editor Cristina Mogro-Wilson (cristina.wilson@uconn.edu) with any questions.

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