Police found faeces on the floor, rotting food in the fridge and not enough beds in an Adelaide home where four children were in the care of their meth-addicted mother, a court has heard.
Glenys Kupfer, 34, pleaded guilty to four counts of failing to provide adequate food, clothing and accommodation to a child.
The mother-of-six failed in caring for her four youngest children, aged eight, three, two and 12-months, in 2019.
Adelaide Magistrates Court on Wednesday heard she was struggling as a newly single parent, was addicted to meth and traumatised by the death of her brother which she witnessed.
Police prosecutor Scott Mesecke said officers and Department of Child Protection staff attended Ms Kupfer‘s Blair Athol home about 8.45pm on March 1, 2019 and witnessed the “squalid” conditions.
He said there were not enough beds for the amount of people living in the property and they were dirty.
The court heard the “cluttered” lounge room had a mattress on top of the lounge chairs and faeces were scattered on the floor in the lounge room, bathroom and kitchen.
Rotting food was also located inside the fridge, the court heard.
Mr Mesecke described the house on that occasion as “dishevelled and unkept” but said the property was later in a “clean and tidy state” when police revisited her home on June 27 — after her children were removed from her care.
“There was fresh food in the refrigerator and she appeared to be more calm and in control so there was an improvement,” he said.
“(On the first appearance) she told police she was a single mother, having trouble coping with four young children.
“The transcript of the record of interview does show she recognised the premises was quite unkept and explained the difficulties she was facing.”
The court heard the mother later had a support network in place and attended a parenting course.
Edward Stratton-Smith, for the defence, said his client’s drug use became “very heavy” as a way to deal with grief after her brother died in “violent circumstances” and she accepted she did not prioritise her children.
He said having her children removed resulted in a “dramatic turnaround” and had not touched drugs since.
The court heard the father of the four children at the centre of Ms Kupfer’s charges left her homeless for a period of time, initially taking the children, before returning and leaving them in her care before leaving again.
“She accepted her neglect and didn’t shy away from it,” Mr Stratton-Smith said.
“In the two years since her children have left, she’s a very different person to then … Her singular focus is her children.
“Long term, she’d like to benefit others through her experiences and help other families in some way.”
Mr Stratton-Smith asked Magistrate Nicolas Alexandrides to consider handing down a good behaviour bond so Ms Kupfer could remain “on her path to recovery or rehabilitation” which was “the best thing for her children”.
“A conviction for neglecting your own child is a very serious thing and that in itself brings a great deal of shame to the defendant,” he said.
“While this is serious, there is no doubt the court has seen more serious examples.”
Mr Mesecke said he would not call for a jail sentence based on the circumstances.
Ms Kupfer will reappear in September to be sentenced.