The DfE said the stocktake, which is due to conclude in December, is intended to help build a comprehensive picture of what the fostering system looks like in England and where and how it could be improved.
Narey has previously advised the government on adoption and the reform of social work education (both in 2014). In 2016, he completed an independent review of residential children's homes.
He will lead the stocktake alongside Mark Owers, a children and families social worker who has held a number of senior positions including chief executive of the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies.
"The review will help us to improve our understanding of current provision and how placements are made, where the system works well and what can be learned nationally from good practice," a call for evidence document published by the DfE states.
The document sets out that the review will cover a number of different areas:
- The types of fostering that are currently provided, in order to understand the full range of provision that is available and when and for which young people it is best used
- What works best within fostering settings to improve outcomes for the children and young people placed
- What improvements could be made to the way that fostering provision is commissioned, delivered, regulated and inspected to improve outcomes and value for money
- The status, role and function of foster carers in relation to other professionals as part of the team working with a child in care
- How the experiences of young people can be improved when entering foster care, transitioning between placements (between carers or into other settings), and leaving foster care
- Any other issues that might contribute to better outcomes for children
Children's minister Edward Timpson said the stocktake will help government better understand current provision, so that every child can get the stable, nurturing home environment they deserve.
"I am delighted that Sir Martin Narey and Mark Owers will lead this fundamental review and hope as many people as possible will contribute," he said.
The government first announced its intention to review the fostering system in July 2016.
Speaking at the time, children's minister Edward Timpson said the review will also look at "market opportunities", and suggested there might be potential for introducing a regional commissioning system for fostering services.
The call for evidence closes at 5pm on 16 June 2017.