UNION CITY — A Hudson County mother has lost custody of her five children after judges ruled she placed them at risk by waiting days before taking her newborn to a hospital and living in a deplorable apartment where cockroaches rained from the ceiling.

The mother, who is not named in court papers in order to protect the identity of her children, gave birth to her youngest son May 26, 2012, in her bathtub, severing his umbilical cord with a pair of scissors.

Instead of taking the newborn to the hospital right away, she wrapped him in a towel, hid him under her clothing, and took a bus from Union City to her boss’ house in Maywood.

With her newborn still hidden and smothered under her clothing, her boss drove her to their nail salon where he gave her a paycheck.

Almost two hours after that, the woman took a bus to Palisades Medical Center. But the court record says she never went inside — she waited outside for more than six hours.

Why the mother waited outside for so long is not explained in the five-page decision issued Wednesday by an appellate panel that upheld a Family Court judge’s ruling that she “abused or neglected her children by failing to provide them with adequate housing and … adequate medical care.”

The mother took the child to the hospital four days after giving birth, according to the court record.

Hospital officials alerted Division of Child Protection and Permanency, which took the children out of the Union City home after finding the walls, ceilings and even the refrigerator infested with cockroaches.

A Family Court judge took away her custody because she “placed her newborn son in imminent risk of harm and the family was living in deplorable housing conditions.”

“It is inconceivable to me that this could have happened under the circumstances that it did,” Judge Elaine Davis said in September 2012, adding that the mother did not appreciate the risk she took with her newborn, who could have suffocated under her clothes.

The appellate decision says the Family Court judge’s ruling was “supported by substantial credible evidence.”

Because the mother is not named, it is unclear whether she faced criminal charges.


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