Indeed, in a little-known case at Eastern Illinois State University in the 1950s, the state welfare department shut down a practice baby program to protect a boy named "David North" who had been raised by 12 different home economics majors.
"We sort of got it wrong at both ends of the spectrum," Pertman said. "At the orphanage, there were not enough hands, and in this program, there were too many. We didn't think it through or simply didn't understand the consequences of what was being done."
Child development experts now know that "permanence is what matters," he said. "Looking at the bright side, thank God we learned a lesson.
"As early as possible, we need to get these kids into permanent, loving homes. It sounds so cliched, but this episode puts this reality into sharp relief."
Cornell launched its practice baby program in 1919 when child development theories were so rigid they advised shaking the child's hand before bedtime.