Five people who grew up in care have been placed at the very heart of a new review of the system, the First Minister said.
Nicola Sturgeon spoke out as she confirmed that a full independent review group to examine the care system has been established.
Speaking at a reception for young people who have been in care, the First Minister said "swift progress" had been made in setting up the new body.
The review group is being chaired by Fiona Duncan, the CEO of Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland, which gives grants to help disadvantaged people and communities.
It will look at the legislation, practices, culture and ethos of the care system and listen to young people who have experienced it and their families, with the aim being to improve their quality of life and future outcomes.
Ms Sturgeon said: "Every young person should have an equal opportunity to succeed in life, no matter their circumstances.
"However, we know that there are still many challenges facing young people in care and that their opportunities are all too often not the same as other young people in Scotland.
"The care system must and can do better by our most vulnerable children and young people. They need to know they are loved and feel cared for - this review is not about determining if this can be achieved, but how we create a system that puts love for the children it cares for at its heart."
She added: "Swift progress has been made setting up the review, culminating with the establishment of the review group, with people with care experience at its heart. I very much welcome all of the members who will be dedicating their time to sit on the review group during this crucial first stage.
"The wide breadth of experience, expertise and contribution of each panel member is vital in carrying out this review."
Ms Duncan said: "We really can, will and must deliver a review that changes lives and is transformational. Without the voice of care experience, this review would not be happening - and without that voice, it will not deliver.
"Many young people, their families, and professionals involved in the care system have an important contribution to make, and I look forward to learning from them in the coming weeks and months."