Article preparation

Your article should be prepared using Microsoft Word, but please avoid automatic formatting (including footnotes and endnotes), headers and footers and styles (e.g. 'Heading 1') other than 'Normal'. Normal text may be graded using bold and italic fonts.

All articles must be in English and use Australian spelling and punctuation as outlined in The Macquarie Dictionary. Please follow format and style as described in the latest release of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA). Note that APA Journal Article Reporting Standards (JARS) offers useful guidelines on what information should be included in all article sections for quantitative, qualitative and mixed-methods research.

Please spell out uncommon abbreviations and acronyms on first mention. Full stops should not be used in abbreviations or acronyms (e.g. NSW).

Please use single quotation marks, except where 'a quotation is "within" a quotation'. Long quotations of 40 words or more should be indented with quotation marks.

When technical terms prove essential, the writer should provide brief explanations supported by contextual descriptions or examples. Use italics, rather than quotation marks, to introduce a technical or key term.

Cover letter

A cover letter should be the first page of your article. Cover letters:

Authors may suggest possible reviewers that are experts in the field and have no conflicts of interest (are not co-workers of any authors, nor are associated directly with the work or study reported in the article). Approaching suggested reviewers is at the discretion of the Editor. Intentionally falsifying reviewer details will result in rejection of an article.

Title page

The second page of your article should identify the type of article being submitted, the article title and the full names, ORCID, current position title, institutional addresses (current at the time the work was undertaken) and current email addresses for all authors. Refer to Authorship to read about authorship criteria.

If there is more than one author, the corresponding author should be indicated by adding an asterisk after their name – and a current address provided if it is different from the study address.

Note that for articles being sent for peer review, information that identifies authors (e.g. cover page, title page, acknowledgements, etc.) will be removed or blinded by us to produce a de-identified version for review.


Make your title specific, with the main concept at the beginning. Avoid uncommon language and passive phrases (e.g. titles that begin with 'effect of', ‘review of’, 'involvement of' and 'evidence of'). Include the thing (the idea, finding or method) that makes your article interesting if you can. Google is best at finding and promoting titles between 5 and 7 words long.


The abstract (~500 words) will be the most-read section of your article; it provides an overview of your study, report or viewpoint and lets the reader know why and how you did the work, your key conclusions and why the findings are valuable. It should encourage the reader to read the main body text of your article, but it also should be able to stand alone. The abstract must particularly emphasise new and important findings and implications for the child, youth and family services sector.


The Children Australia submission process will prompt you to choose relevant keywords from a list, which will be used as search terms. We recommend you also include 8–10 keywords of your own choosing.

Keywords are commonly used, but specific, terms used in a field of practice, knowledge or research. Using appropriate keywords in your title and abstract can move your article to the top of internet search results. It can be a useful exercise to test the utility of keywords in a few search engines and PubMed's list of Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) terms.

Main body text

Headings should be used to help organise the article. Check the requirements for different article types to be sure you are using the required headings and format and are within the word limit. Articles with specified headings use 'Introduction', 'Methods', 'Results' and 'Conclusions' or ‘Background’, ‘Issue’ and ‘Lessons learned’. For articles that allow authors’ own headings, authors are encouraged to use headings that clarify the flow of the article as well as assist the reader in understanding the content of the paper. Section headings should be concise.

For all research articles, ethics approval detail (including name of Institutional Review Board and approval number) should be placed at the end of the Methods section under the heading 'Ethics approval'.

Book reviews should be accompanied by: the full title of the book reviewed; the full name/s of the author/s and/or editor/s of the volume; the date of publication; the name and city of the publisher; the ISBN and RRP in AU$, and whether the book is case bound or soft covered. Please include the reviewer's name and institutional address in the file.

Figures and tables

Tables and Figures should be titled with a short and concise description, numbered separately but consecutively (Table 1, … ; Figure 1, … ), and cited in the text. Tables should be clear, concise and able to stand alone, with footnotes included to clarify entries.

Please spell out any abbreviations or acronyms that occur in a figure or table (in the legend for a figure, or as a footnote to a table). This is required even if the abbreviations or acronyms have been spelled out previously in the text.

Please format tables in cells (do not use tabs and do not submit as an image file).

Make table column headings descriptive but brief, with units of measurement in parenthesis. If both number and percentage are being provided for an item, please indicate both in one column as n (%).

Table footnotes should be indicated using letters (A,B,C,D), with *, **, *** for P-values.

Knowledge Translation and Impact

The aim of this section is to make findings accessible to people who can adapt and use this knowledge to inform practice and, therefore, strengthen outcomes for children, young people and families. It provides a plain-language and/or graphical synthesis of knowledge presented in the article to make clear its importance, application and benefits to the sector. We hope that it encourages practice-focused and informed evidence and works towards breaking down silos of knowledge and understanding. This section can be up to three paragraphs (600 words) of text and can include figures and tables. It might include plain-language or summarised descriptions, infographics and/or examples of practice and policy utility. To encourage adequate communication, this section is not included in the overall article word count.


The Acknowledgements section is the place to list all contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship (e.g. someone who provided purely technical help or writing assistance) but please obtain permission to do so. Specify the role of these people (e.g. critically reviewed the study proposal, or assisted in collecting data). Compare this with the criteria for authorship.

Reflexivity statement

If relevant, please include a statement of ethical and transparent research partnerships and reporting (see Reflexivity statement).

Funding statement

Provide details of the sources of financial and in-kind support for all authors, including grant numbers. Grants held by different authors should be identified as belonging to individual authors by the author's initials. Where no specific funding has been provided for research, please provide the following statement: 'This research received no specific grant from any funding agency, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.'

Conflicts of Interest

Conflict of interest exists when an author has interests that might influence their judgement, even if that judgement is not influenced. Non-financial interests that could be relevant in this context should also be disclosed. This requirement applies to all the authors of a paper and to all categories of papers. If there are no conflicts of interest, include the heading 'Conflicts of Interest' followed by the text 'None.'


All citations and references must be complete and accurate on submission and follow APA format and style. Papers will be declined for publication if they have references that are found to be incomplete or inaccurate. References should be selective, appropriate and easily accessible.

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