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The rewards of fostering

Jean Leishman cannot remember the names of all the children she and her husband Eddie have fostered over the years, but that is hardly surprising - the couple from Cambuslang have fostered 600 children over 33 years.

By any measure, it is a remarkable achievement and there is nothing more rewarding, says Mrs Leishman, than getting a cuddle from a child who has struggled to express their feelings.

It has clearly been enormously rewarding for the couple, although their decision to retire - and how could anyone begrudge them that? - means there will be two fewer foster parents when there is already a severe shortage in Scotland.

It helps that there has been a profound change in fostering in recent years, meaning those who might not have considered it in the past now can. Single people, gay couples, those in full-time work - all can volunteer.

And if that means you, and you are swithering, the words of Mrs Leishman might help. "If someone asked me would I do it again," she says, "I'd say: 'Yes, of course.'"

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