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Daughter’s Tooth Decay Lands Florida Mother in Slammer on Child Neglect Charges

Posted May 21 2009 10:32pm

The Back Story

According to, a Florida mother has been booked on felony child neglect charges for failing to seek proper treatment for her daughter’s severe tooth decay.

The little girl dealt with tooth pain for more than a year before her grandmother suggested to the offender, Tamika S. White, that she take the child to the dentist. Heeding her mother’s advice, Ms. White took her daughter to see a dentist about her tooth pain. The dentist diagnosed the child’s condition as “bottle mouth,” a common form of tooth decay found in infants and toddlers. At this point, Ms. White was informed that Medicaid coverage would not pay for the treatment - which is incidently quite common these days.

Ms. White refused to attempt to collect child support payments from her child’s father. Furthermore, she failed to search for specialists who could treat her daughter that did accept medicare. Privy to this information, the authorities arrested Ms. White on felony child neglect charges.

My thoughts

I’m admittedly struggling a little with assessing blame in this case. On one hand, it seems incomprehensible that a parent would allow their child to suffer without exhausting all treatment and payment options. This case certainly does seem like outright abuse on its face. However, another part of me wondered if Ms. White had the resources to seek a specialist whom accepted Medicare. I also don’t know what the situation is with Ms. White and her child’s father. There could be something there preventing Ms. White from contacting him to ask for child support payments? We don’t know that part of the story.

Your Thoughts

Should Tamika White be in jail on child neglect charges? Is this case black and white, or is there a gray area that we have to consider as I suggest?

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