The Government says it has established an independent panel to lead a complete overhaul of Child, Youth and Family (CYF).
Social Development Minister Anne Tolley said the panel would have a wide-ranging brief to consider all aspects of CYF operations.
Mrs Tolley said the agency needed a clear strategy that focused on the needs of children, rather than the needs of the system.
The panel will be chaired by Paula Rebstock, who is the chair of both the ACC and Work and Income boards.
It will also include Police Commissioner Mike Bush.
The group will report to the minister by July this year, with a detailed business case to follow by December.
NZ lagging behind - Minister
Mrs Tolley said New Zealand used to be a world leader in the field of child protection, but it was now eight to 10 years behind in its thinking in some important areas, such as how it supported children in state care.
She said, in recent years, reports on various aspects of CYF operations had highlighted issues such as the need for a child-centred approach and social worker caseloads, where there was a lack of clarity around core business.