The case of Sicily and the Separated Children
The main idea of this book is to offer some areas of public reflection on migration and its effects on local processes through the study of a specific category of migrants: the separated children. This category is part of the main migratory flow towards Southern Europe but, as minors and with no adults responsible for them, they are entitled to specific rights, and local services have to be provided for their integration.
The phenomenon of separated children is nothing new all over Europe, but the number of them is growing. During 2014 the military and humanitarian operation Mare Nostrum left almost 170,000 migrants on the Sicilian coast, and among them there were more than 13,000 separated children.
In our analysis, this category of migrants has been considered to be the “crossing point” of many normative systems, and their status highlights dissonances of migration policies and inequalities in the welfare systems of Southern Europe. Throughout the book, the category of separated children has further been analyzed through a comparison of European legal systems, a description of the ways in which these children are hosted on the Sicilian territory, and in-depth interviews focusing on their expectations and dilemmas.
The issue of separated children, as migrants and minors, strongly questions the future of Europe, its principles and its cultural and institutional assets and, at the same time, asks for a deeper understanding of migration and the form it assumes in the receiving countries, especially in the southern border of Europe.
Maria Teresa Consoli is Professor in Sociology of Law at the University of Catania, Dept. of Social and Political Sciences. She has published books and articles on poverty (Il diritto al denaro, Giuffrè 2004), migration (Il fenomeno migratorio nell’Europa del Sud, FrancoAngeli 2009), and social policies in Italy (La localizzazione delle politiche sociali, Bonanno 2009 and La professionalizzazione dell’Assistente Sociale, Bonanno 2010).