Nicola Sturgeon has said she is considering becoming a foster parent after revealing her life after leadership will be dedicated to supporting the care sector.
The former first minister, writing in the Daily Record, said she realised during her nine years leading Scotland the care system was "broken" and the number of suicides within it reminded her "change needed is fundamental and urgent".
She insisted the situation had improved under her leadership but "it is still the case that one in a hundred children in Scotland will go into care before their first birthday".
"That is shocking," she added, promising to "do everything" during her backbench political career to support the system.
"If I ever get the sense that government is not prioritising the change it demands, I will say so – loudly and clearly," the ex-SNP leader said.
"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."
Sturgeon thinking 'long and hard' about fostering
Ms Sturgeon said she was inspired to consider fostering herself after learning how beneficial to children good care can be.
"I have spoken before about the possibility of fostering myself in future," she said. "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."
In a 2021 Vogue interview, Ms Sturgeon said she and husband Peter Murrell - who do not have children - had "scratched the surface" in considering whether to foster as she revealed a 2011 miscarriage.
“I’ve become really involved in, and passionate about, improving the opportunities for young people who grew up in care and in the future, post-politics, fostering children may be something we would think about," the MSP for Glasgow Southside told the magazine.
"It’s something my husband and I have only scratched the surface of talking about.”
Explaining her focus on care, Ms Sturgeon wrote in Tuesday's Daily Record: “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.”
A Sturgeon novel could be coming - but first an investigation into SNP finances
The former first minister's life outside of Hollyrood may also include some creative writing but an inquiry into her party's finances will come first.
Appearing at an event with comedian Janey Godley, as part of the Aye Write book festival at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow last week, she said: “I’m so jealous that you have written a novel.
“It’s my dream now to write a novel, but I’ll never do it.”
The former SNP leader, who stood down in March after eight years in office, dropped further hints that a memoir may be under way of her time in office.
Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...
She also acknowledged she had had a “tough time” over the last few weeks while the police investigation into the SNP’s finances intensified.
She said: “I’m no stranger to stress in my life. There have been days in the last few weeks perhaps where I thought I was having a tough time.”
Her husband Mr Murrell - the SNP's former chief executive – was taken into custody and the home he shared with his wife Ms Sturgeon was searched in relation to the investigation.
He was later released without charge pending further investigation.
SNP treasurer Colin Beattie was also arrested before being released without charge.