CHICAGO (AP) _ A 9-year-old girl whose lower legs were amputated after she was found abandoned and freezing has a new foster family and should be leaving the hospital before long, officials say.

Darlwin Carlisle, of Gary, Ind., has been learning to walk on artificial legs at La Rabida Children's Hospital.

The foster parents ''are known to Darlwin and will begin discharge training next week,'' said hospital spokeswoman Kris Bangert.

The girl has been at La Rabida since the end of January after her frostbitten legs were amputated below the knee. She had been abandoned in an empty, unheated house in Gary, and was found Jan. 17. Gangrene brought on the need for the amputations, doctors say.

Her mother, Darlwin Britt, 24, was charged with felony child neglect.

The girl's foster parents were appointed by the Child and Protective Services of Indiana. Their identities were not released.

The ''hospital has been her family since the end of January,'' said Ms. Bangert.

''But it's still a hospital, not a real home,'' she said.

Darlwin has made steady progress in her recovery, the spokeswoman said.

''She walks everywhere with no assistance,'' said Ms. Bangert. ''And she looks great when she walks, too - not wobbly or halting.''