There are already 72 million people classified as migrants living in Europe according to the UNODC Combating violence against migrants, UNODC 2015. The on-going influx has recently accelerated so that in 2016 a further 1.3 million refugees and migrants have arrived in Europe by sea from countries such as Syria, Eritrea and Libya.
The UNHCR reports that this influx has fuelled a rise in racism, xenophobia, gender-based violence and intolerance all of which will result in the exclusion of children and young people affected by migration (CAM) from the education and learning which is their entitlement.
Furthermore, because they face similar trauma from separation and disruption, the ICAM project includes the children and young people of European migrant workers left behind in their country of birth. In Romania alone there are an estimated 650,000 children and young people affected by migration; left behind by parents migrating for work elsewhere in Europe.
Research into the long term effects of trauma and separation on children evacuated during the Second World War shows that the disruption to their social and emotional development has effects on wellbeing transferred from parents to their children lasting for at least 3 generations.
There is strong evidence to show that investment in Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and the creation of a safe and secure learning environment in school is highly cost effective, and that, through the application to improved life skills and the ability to learn of all children and young people, improved SEL brings major economic benefits to the whole society, both in terms of productivity and in reduced social welfare/criminal justice costs.
Unless provision is made to support the additional SEL needs of CAM there will be long term effects on their wellbeing and their ability to become fully integrated and contributory members of society.