It is unbelievable at any time in the history of this country, that anyone, much less a university, would be borrowing babies, so they could use them as guinea pigs in experimental parenting. But now, a dark secret has been revealed and has become a point of controversy for several universities in the U.S.
According to ABC, Cornell University, University of Minnesota and Eastern Illinois State University and many others, borrowed hundreds of babies as far back as 1919–when the program started at Cornell–for extreme home economics classes. Back then, they weren’t just cooking bad cakes and biscuits and learning how to sew a sock. No! Back then, eight students at a time took care of a real baby.
These babies were on loan from orphanages and at Cornell, given the name of “Domecon babies,” meaning “domestic economy” babies. And while they were using these children to make the experience of child rearing authentic for these students, they never considered the impact that this type of program would have on the babies. The child had many mothers for the one to two years they were at the school, then they would be adopted. But the question is, “What was the impact on the child after this level of instability between infancy and toddler age?
One of the children located described that he has intimacy and attachment issues along with an inability to trust anyone. Cornell’s practice apartments where the “course work” would ensue, later became a day-care center for the children of faculty members. The program ended in 1969 when the curriculum no longer found relevancy with women as they left the home and became a part of the workforce.
Read here on how this controversial piece of history was uncovered and what the ramifications of the program have been for the babies involved. Below, you can see the interview about the program through the eyes of one of the students.