Child, Youth and Family has ordered an urgent review of a case in which four children were left with their violent and abusive parents, despite 20 warnings to social workers over nine years.
Auckland Family Court judge Dale Clarkson has criticised the agency for failing to remove the children from their mother and father, a convicted child rapist.
CYFS deputy chief executive Bernadine Mackenzie has ordered an urgent review of the case and in a written statement says she agrees with Judge Clarkson that the children were let down by the agency and she apologises.
Ms Mackenzie says she wants to reassure the public that in the vast majority of cases social workers get it right. She says the children, aged three to 13, are now safe and well, living with a caregiver.
She says the findings of the review will be made public.
The Family Court has also referred the case to the Office of the Children's Commissioner.