Edwards admitted her guilt Thursday in a hearing before U.S. District Judge Juan R. Sanchez. Edwards told the judge she is receiving treatment behind bars for post-traumatic stress disorder and struggles with alcoholism.
She has remained in custody on state manslaughter charges since June 2013. Her guilty plea came as part of a separate federal case filed last month.
The case stemmed from an investigation by the Department of Public Welfare last year that cataloged not only Edwards' lapses as a day-care operator, but also the failure of its own employees to act on red flags surrounding her business.
Month after month, the state fielded complaints about the day care center's two locations - one on Germantown Avenue, the other on Rising Sun Avenue - including allegations that Edwards was posing as her sister-in-law, that drugs were being sold out of the facilities, and that an employee once ran through the center with a gun. Some of those claims were never investigated.
State officials ultimately shut down the business' Germantown location for fire-safety violations, broken furniture, and unqualified staff, and cited Edwards for "gross incompetence, negligence, and misconduct." Still, the Rising Sun location remained open until the child died there on June 29, 2012.
Edwards is scheduled for trial on the manslaughter charge this fall. She also is accused in separate cases: one for collecting welfare while hiding the income she received from the state in her sister-in-law's name, and another for cashing a check stolen from a church.
As a result of her guilty plea Thursday, she is also likely to face new prison time for violating the terms of her probation from a 2012 insurance fraud case, in which she was found guilty of torching a Jaguar she bought in her sister's name.
She is scheduled for sentencing in her federal case in October.