A family court judge has told of the "very difficult" reality of life in England for one Romany couple who emigrated from Slovakia three years ago.
Judge Clifford Bellamy said the couple, who have four children aged between one and eight, arrived with no money and had been dependent on food parcels.
They had encountered significant problems with housing and were still not sure whether they were entitled to benefits.
The man had an problem with alcohol abuse - and the woman had been a victim of domestic violence.
Now social workers had raised concerns about their children being neglected - and the youngsters could be taken into local authority care.
Judge Bellamy gave detail in a preliminary ruling on the couple's case following a family court hearing in Leicester.
He said the family could not be named but indicated that they had lived in Leicester and Coventry.
The judge said social services staff had asked him to make decisions on the children's futures.
He said he would analyse more evidence before reaching conclusions.
"Whatever their hopes and dreams may have been when they arrived in the United Kingdom, the reality is that their time here so far has been a very difficult time," said the judge.
"There has been domestic violence and abuse. There has been alcohol abuse. There have been significant problems with housing. There has still been no resolution of their entitlement to and claims for state benefits."
He added: "So far as these children are concerned, there has been instability."