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Need to Know, January 7, 2011: Foster care, a ‘lost boy’ of Sudan

On this week’s episode of Need to Know, we go inside the foster care system for an installment of The Watch List: We investigate the use and potential overuse of powerful antipsychotic medication on foster children, with a special look at Texas, which has worked to reform its practices. We also tell the story of Salva Dut, a Sudanese “lost boy” who returned to Sudan to help bring clean water to his hometown.

And, because of overwhelming web response to our segment last month on “fixing” America, we have asked three more “big thinkers” to talk about innovative solutions to current national problems, including transportation, the economy and the war in Afghanistan.

Plus: Author Barbara Strauch talks about the “grown-up” brain, and Peter Sagal is back with his inimitable advice — this time for those who want to make it big in children’s publishing.

Watch the individual segments:

Lost boy of Sudan

As the people of Southern Sudan decide whether to form an independent nation next week, Need to Know profiles Salva Dut, a “lost boy” of Sudan who returned to help rebuild his homeland.

The Watch List: The medication of foster children

Are foster care children being over-medicated with anti-psychotic drugs? In this investigation, we focus on Texas, which has done much to reform its practices.

Fixing America

In a follow-up to our “How to Fix America” segment, we respond to suggestions from viewers regarding infrastructure, the war in Afghanistan and our economy.

The secret life of the middle-aged brain

Author Barbara Strauch talks to Alison Stewart about how our brains may actually become more efficient as we age.

Peter Sagal: Be the next J.K. Rowling!

Peter Sagal lays out the formula for becoming a bestselling children’s book author. Follow these easy steps, and watch the billions roll in.

Watch more full episodes of Need to Know.


  • Lbjjco

    Excellent show on the 7th. Thanks for making the effort and for disseminating the news we “need to know.” Listener – Denver, CO

  • Maryjo

    I am interested in donating to Salva Dut’s water project in Sudan. How would I go about doing this?

  • South Bay Viewer

    We just got back from visiting South Sudan. Your report was right on target in describing the situation there. Thanks for showing positive solutions for some of the world’s “trouble spots.”

  • Senior Producer

    Hi Maryjo,
    The name of Salva Dut’s organization is Water for Sudan. Here is the website:

    Thanks for watching!
    Brenda Breslauer – Senior Producer

  • Senior Producer

    Hi Maryjo,
    The name of Salva Dut’s organization is Water for Sudan. Here is the website:

    Thanks for watching!
    Brenda Breslauer – Senior Producer

  • Rita Walker, RN-BC, CARN

    I have worked as a psychiatric nurse for over 20 years. My specialty is children with behavior problems and teens with drug abuse problems. I have watched psychiatrists move away from cognitive therapy and into strictly medication management. I have worked with excellent doctors and I have worked with those who are simply trying to make money. We have become a society that wants technology to raise our children, whether it be electronics or pharmaceuticals. The easier of the two is medication since Medicaid will pay for it. Our schools are being inundated with children who’s behaviors are so aggressive, they can’t even be taught. Our teachers are merely babysitting as well as trying to keep every one safe. These are our children, the future of our country and they have little, if any, tools to cope with their environments as well as their own emotions. Medications won’t make a child behave, they will merely slow them down. It would be beneficial, if not solve the problem, for schools to implement programs utilizing behavior specialists to work with these children. These are the chilldren who do not always fall under a pervasive developmental disorder. I would also like to see Medicare audit some of these physicians to determine if these medications are even needed, or is this just a way to keep them hospitalized and in treatment. I have witnessed a great deal of insurance fraud and the ones who suffer most are the patients. It’s time something is done