An Adelaide man has been jailed for at least three years and seven months for the criminal neglect of his 14-year-old daughter.

The South Australian Supreme Court heard Richard Edward and his wife Debra failed to seek medical assistance for their sick daughter Dawn, a sufferer of type-1 diabetes.

The girl died in August 2009 at the family home, her weight having fallen to 28 kilograms.

The court heard her blood glucose levels had been higher than a measuring device could record.

It was told government agency Families SA got involved with the family but the parents resisted their offers of help.

The prosecution said medical professionals described the teenager as "skin-and-bones" at the time of her death.

Justice Kevin Nicholson said during the trial that he only needed to look at the photographs tendered to see how sick the girl was.

He said it had been his task to assess the parents' awareness of the situation.

Justice Nicholson said Richard Edward was significantly more culpable than his intellectually disabled wife.

"You now concede that there was a complete failure on your part to appreciate the seriousness of your daughter's situation," he said.

"You accept that you abjectly failed your daughter when all you needed to do was make a phone call.

"I must say I struggle to understand how you could have behaved in this way. It was an extraordinarily high-risk strategy, particularly given that each of the indicators which called for urgent medical intervention and which had been explained to you were present throughout that last week or so."

Justice Nicholson said Richard Edward has a history of ignoring his children's needs.

"You were a controlling and dominant influence in the house, with a lengthy history of refusing assistance from Families SA and welfare authorities and a lengthy history of neglecting all of the children, and particularly with respect to the attaining of medical and dental treatment," he said.

"Families SA repeatedly received information suggesting that your children were not provided with adequate food and that they presented to school and elsewhere with dirty clothing, head lice and all of the indication of coming from a family with parents who were simply unable or unwilling to provide the basics."

The court did not jail Edward's wife, Debra. She received a minimum sentence of two years and eight months, but it was suspended in favour of a three-year good behaviour bond.

The teenage victim, Dawn, was a triplet and one of five children in the family.

The others are all in state care.