UPCOMING!!- Special Issue on Migrants and Refugees

"Social Work with Migrants and Refugees: Challenges, Best Practices, and Future Directions”

Guest Editors:

Marciana Popescu, PhD, MSW, Associate Professor, GSSS, Fordham University, Popescu@fordham.edu

Kathryn Libal, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Social Work and Director, Human Rights Institute, University of Connecticut, Kathryn.libal@uconn.edu


This special issue of Advances in Social Work will focus on current challenges and best practices with migrants and refugees in an increasingly difficult global context. Over the past five years, forced migration and displacement reached record numbers, while complex geopolitical, economic, and environmental factors contributed to escalating current challenges. International human rights and migration laws provide a framework too narrow and too limited for these recent developments. Political pressure and a growing identity crisis add to the xenophobia and climate of fear in which security becomes the sole purpose of rapidly changing migration policies.

Within this context, identifying elements of safety in the migration discourse becomes essential to any paradigm changes with a renewed focus on the rights of migrants.  Increasing political instability, sectarianism, growing nationalism and xenophobia, and six major wars with larger regional and international implications has left migration in a state of permanent crisis. This has led to tempestuous, irrational, and rash decisions and reactions, yet accompanied by a rapid de-professionalization of the migration sector and a growing number of volunteers and other civil society actors attempting to fill the gaps.

Research on the actual impact of these changes is scarce, and we are faced with the alarming results of severe policy implementation deficits with scant evidence to support best practices or prevent disastrous ones. Social work has been conspicuously absent from the migration discourse until recently, with few exceptions. Yet the profession is uniquely equipped to participate in creating a better response both locally and internationally– through education, policy, research, and practice.

Initially, we are accepting abstracts addressing any of the following areas, nationally or internationally:

  • Theoretical and conceptual foundations of rights-based practice with migrants.
  • Current migration policy frameworks – securitization and border control and the impact on migrants and refugees.
  • Existing research and promising interventions addressing xenophobia, racism, and/or nativism.
  • Policy, advocacy, and social justice strategies addressing the rights of asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants.
  • Policies and best practices for safe and effective labor migration.
  • Social work roles in working with unaccompanied minors (UAM) and challenging current oppressive policies affecting the rights of UAM.
  • Interdisciplinary approaches and best practices promoting the health and well-being of migrants and refugees.
  • Empirical research related to current services and informal support to undocumented and mixed status families.


To ensure relevant coverage of topics and geographical areas, as well as areas of social work policy and practice, we ask interested authors to submit a 300-400 word abstract by June 15, 2017. We will review abstracts within two weeks, and notify authors of the decision regarding their participation in the next stage. Selected authors will be invited by June 30, 2017 to submit a full manuscript (20-25 pages) by September 30, 2017.  Submitted manuscripts will be anonymously peer reviewed. This issue is scheduled to appear in May or June 2018. 

Authors should follow the guidelines for writing articles for Advances in Social Work:



Deadline for abstracts:                      June 15, 2017

Deadline for invited manuscript:    September 30, 2017


For more information, please contact the Guest Editors as shown above or: Margaret E. Adamek, Editor, Advances in Social Work: madamek@iupui.edu

Abstracts should be submitted to the Guest Editors by email.


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