A youth lawyer in Auckland says Maori should have been included years ago in running family group conferences, which help troubled young people confront their offending.
The agency commissioned a paper in 2012 to examine its service in the past 20 years, and to find out what improvements could be made.
Child Youth and Family is making changes to how it runs hui to include Maori participation in how they operate.
An Auckland Youth lawyer, Helen Bowen, told Nine to Noon that the group conferences programme could have been better if those amendments had been brought in earlier.
She said the idea of the programme at the beginning was for tangata whenua to be involved, including Maori social workers; people from Maori communities to work with rangatahi, as well as Maori co-facilitating conferences.
Ms Bowen said that if Maori had been involved in co-facilitating hui, they would have been a real strength of the programme.
Radio New Zealand requested a copy of the highly critical briefing paper to Government ministers identifies significant shortcomings in the way CYF runs conferences, in October last year, but only recently received a copy of it
The paper also said children, families, victims, and professionals were being inadequately prepared for conferences, and hui had been timed for the convenience of CYF staff.