Talshica Early, 19, who has been jailed on a charge of misdemeanor child abuse for two weeks, made her first court appearance Tuesday morning.
Early pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to a 45-day suspended sentence and six months unsupervised probation.
The judge said because it was a Class-1 misdemeanor, and because Early had no prior record, by law that was the maximum sentence allowed.
As part of her sentence, the judge ordered Early to get mental health and parental counseling.
Police say Early left her newborn outside the Cumberland County Health Departmenton September 18.Neighbors say they never even knew Early was pregnant.
"I don't feel any more [jail] time is what this young lady needs. I think having the baby, then her physical problems, and being in jail, I think [the sentence] is justifiable," says Sheriff Moose Butler.
One child advocate in the community also agrees support, not jail time, is a way to help this young mother.
Early has a 1-year-old son who is in the care of family members. The infant, Baby Jarrod, is in foster care.
In court, Early's attorney says the teenage mother's goal is to continue on with GED classes.