A picture taken inside the couple's home, that was tendered in court.

A picture taken inside the couple's home, that was tendered in court.

A child with rotting teeth, a bag containing syringes and bloody swabs, and a bong next to a television greeted police when they raided a northside home, a court has heard.

But a pair of Canberra drug addicts who let their two children live in squalor have avoided a full-time jail sentence.

The 33-year-old mother will spend her weekends behind bars for the next four months.

A picture taken inside the couple's home, that was tendered in court.

A picture taken inside the couple's home, that was tendered in court.

The 41-year-old father was given a deferred sentence of four months' periodic detention, to be fully suspended if he completes a residential drug rehabilitation program.

The ACT Magistrates Court on Wednesday heard police had arrived at the residence in August 2011 to find the two children dressed in dirty clothes. One had rotting teeth, some of which have since been removed.

A statement of facts said the mother was home when police arrived, but the father was not.

A picture taken inside the couple's home, that was tendered in court.

A picture taken inside the couple's home, that was tendered in court.

Officers took pictures of the premises and provided them to ACT Child Protection Services. The pictures, tendered in the court, showed soiled nappies piled on the bin, dirty bedding, and piles of unwashed clothing. Authorities returned six weeks later to find the property slightly improved, but still unfit for habitation.

The two children, then aged 22 months and three, were removed from the home and placed in care. They have since been placed under an 18-year foster order.

Magistrate Bernadette Boss heard details of the woman defendant's brutal childhood, which included sexual abuse and being given cannabis as a gift by her parents on her 10th birthday.

A picture taken inside the couple's home, that was tendered in court.

A picture taken inside the couple's home, that was tendered in court.

The children's mother, from the witness stand, told the court she had been six when she first encountered drugs.

She said she had used drugs intravenously on and off since she was 16, and grew up thinking substance abuse was normal.

"It's all I've ever known," she told the court.

She broke down in tears as she described her embarrassment at the pictures of the home and her disgust that she allowed it to reach that state. "I love my girls … they don't deserve that."

The court heard she had been diagnosed with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The children's father, described as a career and recidivist offender by the prosecution, is currently completing a rehabilitation program in a residential centre.

The pair each pleaded guilty to one charge of child neglect.