TRENTON — After news that a baby had been left at a South Jersey hospital this month — the first safe surrender this year under the Safe Haven Law — many people expressed interest in adopting the baby girl.

The infant was left at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden around noon on Dec. 3. State Police posted the child's picture on the unidentified persons section of their website in order to make sure that the child was not taken or abducted.

After ensuring that the child is healthy, state Child Protection and Permanency will place the child with a foster family, according to Jason Butkowski, spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Children and Families.

After 21 days, the infant will begin the permanent adoption process.

"The idea here is that we want to get the child into a supportive system so that they're in a place where they can grow up safe, happy and connected," Butkowski said.

The parents of the child have the option to provide family medical history — information that is kept confidential but could be helpful if the child has an illness.

One of the ways concerned people can help is to become involved in the state's foster parent program.

"In New Jersey we definitely appreciate our foster parents and [...] the people who come forward and provide forever homes for the children who are in our custody. Our goal as a department is to make sure children can have a happy, healthy upbringing," Butkowski said.

Those interested in becoming a foster parent can call 877-NJFOSTER or njfoster.org.  Prospective adoptive parents can call 800-99ADOPT or njadopt.org.

"The process to become a foster parent or an adoptive parent can sometimes seem like a long process. Basically we want to make sure that we have the folks who have the ability to provide that forever home for our kids. If you have the room in your home and the room in your heart, please consider that as an option."

Under New Jersey's Safe Haven law, a child less than 30 days old that has not been abused can be given up anonymously at any police station, hospital, fire department or first aid squads that are manned 24-7, with no questions asked and no threat of criminal prosecution.

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