THE mother of abandoned baby "Catherine" has contacted authorities. She called Victoria's Human Services Department hotline through a woman believed to be the baby's grandmother, authorities revealed yesterday. The mother has also been following her daughter's development on television after she left her wrapped in towels in a cardboard box on the steps of Dandenong Hospital on Mother's Day. The ray of hope in the heart-wrenching saga came last Wednesday afternoon when a hotline counsellor took a call from a nervous older woman. "The caller said they were asking for information in relation to baby Catherine,'' a source has told The Sunday Telegraph. "She asked what would happen if the mother came forward,'' the source said. The caller told the counsellor she knew baby Catherine's mother. Asked if she was with the mother, the caller said yes. The caller then conveyed questions and answers between the counsellor and a younger woman in the room. From that call, authorities have learned: Catherine's mother is well and recovering after giving birth to her; She has been watching her daughter on television, and She is terrified that coming forward will expose her to police charges and unwanted media attention. "She was worried about coming forward and being all over the television,'' the source said. When the counsellor asked if she could speak to the mother, there was a long pause while it was discussed. The caller then said she would get the mother to call "probably tomorrow''. But there was no call back on Thursday, nor any since. Authorities are pleading for either woman to contact them again. Gill Callister, executive director of Victoria's Office of Children, has issued a personal plea to the mother to call the hotline. "We understand you wouldn't have let go of Catherine unless you couldn't see any other way out at the time,'' Ms Callister said. "With all the attention, it's natural for you to want to hide and keep this a secret. "But the best thing you can do for Catherine and yourself is to talk with us to work out a way forward. "Even if she feels she can't - or won't - look after Catherine, she can still play a role in her future. "Catherine's not going to be a baby forever. One day, she will be a young woman who wants to know where she comes from and who her family is.'' The consent of Catherine's mother could speed up her adoption by a foster family. "Please come forward. We will work to respect your confidentiality and privacy. Please call us again,'' Ms Callister said. Sergeant Sarah Wynne, of Dandenong police, said pressing charges against Catherine's mother was not high on the priority list. "Anything along criminal lines at this stage is certainly not our focus,'' she said. "We want the mum to feel safe and supported and to come forward. "We're being honest and open with her.'' There has been speculation that the older woman who made the call could be the baby's grandmother or a friend of the mother. The baby will soon be placed with a foster family if her mother is not found. Police and the Human Services Department will today launch a general appeal to the public for any information on the whereabouts of Catherine's mother. Catherine was only a few hours old and blue from hypothermia when found by a nurse at 6am last Sunday. The battling baby was treated for breathing difficulties at the Royal Children's Hospital before being transferred back to Dandenong Hospital. Her abandonment has caused an outpouring of public sympathy, and the hospital has been flooded with flowers and gifts.