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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.