Nicola Sturgeon says she is thinking “long and hard” about becoming a foster parent, following her resignation as first minister.
Writing of her experience working with young people who had experienced living in care, the MSP said she had been brought to “tears” by stories of family separation and suicide.
She said she and her husband Peter Murrell have felt “motivated” to “consider” foster care after hearing positive experiences from others.
The former SNP leader previously said in 2019 that fostering was something she would think about.
In an article for the Daily Record newspaper on Tuesday, she wrote: “I have spoken before about the possibility of fostering myself in future. Obviously, that is something I must think long and hard about, but it was hearing about the impact good foster care can have in the life of a child that motivated me to even consider it.”
Sturgeon also spoke of her “burning” duty she felt to help young people and warned current First Minister Humza Yousaf that she would complain “loudly and clearly” if promises made to children in care are not met.
The issue reflects Sturgeon’s promise during her resignation speech in February where she vowed to continue to champion young people in care to ensure they grow up “nurtured and loved”.
On Tuesday, she said the thousands of conversations she had with people from all backgrounds is the thing she “cherished most” about her time as first minister.
She added that conversations with young people in care were “the hardest I’ve ever had”.
She wrote: “There are few, if any, encounters lodged more firmly in my heart than those I had with young people who were, or had been, in the care ‘system’.
“These conversations would often bring me to tears. I heard from young people who had been separated from their brothers and sisters when taken into care – in some cases losing touch completely. I heard of suicides and attempted suicides.
“I heard about the use of physical restraint in children’s homes. I heard from young people about how worthless it made them feel to be sent to ‘respite’ while their foster family went on holiday.”
She continued: “I was persuaded that the ‘system’ – despite the best efforts of the dedicated men and women who work in it – was broken. We – government, society – too often let our most vulnerable children down at the time they need us most.”
During her time in office, Sturgeon vowed that her Government would “Keep the Promise” to those in the care system after a damning report highlighted experiences of “separation, trauma, stigma and pain”.
The Whole Family Wellbeing Fund of £500m was created to work towards ensuring families can stay together.
Addressing Yousaf, Sturgeon wrote: “I know more than most how tight public finances are, but for the sake of the children whose lives could be transformed by it, I urge the government to make delivery of this Fund a priority.
“I know my successor as First Minister is as committed to The Promise as I am. But if I ever get the sense that government is not prioritising the change it demands, I will say so – loudly and clearly.
“My promise – for as long as I live – is to be a voice for those in care or at risk of care, and to do everything I can to make sure all young people grow up surrounded by love.”