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Foster Mother, Once Honored at White House, Guilty of Child Abuse

<i> Associated Press</i>

Eight years ago, foster mother Yvonne Eldridge was honored at the White House for her dedication to her children. On Tuesday she faced up to seven years in prison for abusing them.

Eldridge, 44, cried when a Contra Costa County Superior Court jury delivered the verdict Monday after two days of deliberations.

She was convicted of abusing two sickly babies, worsening their conditions by cutting intravenous lines and reporting nonexistent symptoms that caused doctors to order painful and intrusive tests.

Outside court, prosecutors said Eldridge suffers from “Munchausen syndrome by proxy,” in which a parent secretly harms a child to get attention from medical authorities.

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The conviction climaxes a long battle by state authorities to prosecute Eldridge for abusing foster children. In 1993, an administrative law judge stripped Eldridge of her foster care license after the state presented testimony that she repeatedly induced sickness in children, including three infants who died in her care.

In 1988, Eldridge was honored in Washington by First Lady Nancy Reagan under the Great American Families program because she cared for dozens of foster children, many with drug and medical problems.


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