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Tough Questions For Yuba County CPS After Mom With Drug History Runs Off With Newborn

YUBA COUNTY (CBS13) — A woman who has had 11 children removed by Child Protective Services left a hospital after giving birth with her newest baby.

The incident comes nearly two years after Yuba County Child Protective Services came under heavy scrutiny when a baby was born with drugs in its system and wound up dead.

This latest incident had a better ending, but it left us asking what systems failed to again allow a child to be put in a potentially unsafe situation.

CPS confirms to CBS13 it made contact with Rosemarie Chavez at the hospital where she gave birth, outside its jurisdiction in Grass Valley. But before CPS could legally take the child away, Chavez took off with the infant.

"She had both a history of drug abuse and child neglect," said Russ Brown with Yuba County CPS.

He says CPS investigators went to known relatives and searched for Chavez, but it would take more than five days until deputies were notified the child was gone.

Why did it take so long?

"Our child protective services people are trained in this, this is what they do, they go out and locate these children," Brown said. "That's the work they were doing."

He says the case featured a legal maze, because the baby was born in Nevada County. When CPS exhausted its search for the baby, it called in law enforcement which found the baby within hours.

This incident comes nearly two years after Yuba County CPS was criticized for allowing a drug-positive baby to go home with her mom. That baby died in a room full of drugs at a Linda motel.

Brown says CPS adjusted its procedures and says this case is unrelated.

"We definitely feel fortunate that right now the baby is in foster care, the baby's safe, the baby's protected, and that's the work that the people here at child welfare do, that's the work they do everyday," he said.

Chavez faces child abduction charges.

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