Although several medical professionals had advised 21-year-old Catlyn Haley to ensure her 4-year-old daughter received proper dental care -- including immediate oral surgery to fix her severely-rotted teeth -- she allegedly ignored the doctors’ requests for over a year.
Haley, who lives in Panama City, Florida, was arrested on Aug. 27 and charged with child neglect, according to the Panama City News Herald. The girl’s father, Kenneth Haley, has been named as a co-defendant, but it’s not clear if he has been arrested.
The arrest came after a medical provider with the Department of Children and Families reported that the child required immediate dental care. The child’s teeth were allegedly rotted to the gums.
Lori Allen, executive director at Gulf Coast Children's Advocacy Center, told WJHG that neglect can come in many forms — including medical and dental.
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"A lot of people think that it's leaving children unattended and not providing supervision of children who are quite young,” she said.
“Any time there's a concern that a medical or dental issue is being untreated that could cause significant or a potential for significant impairment to the health or well-being of a child, it's going to be serious," she added. It's something that the Department of Children and Families officials, law enforcement and our team will be looking at collectively.”
Although the mother claimed she couldn’t afford to have the dental work done, officials said that wasn’t an adequate excuse.
The case remains under investigation.