Child Youth and Family (CYFs) says it has closed a loophole which allowed a 16-year-old Taranaki girl to be placed in the care of a convicted rapist and apologised for allowing it to happen.
The woman says she was abused by her Tauranga-based uncle - previously jailed for six years for his part in a gang rape - and one of his friends and is now HIV positive, as is her firstborn child, TVNZ's Marae Investigates reports.
In 2001 she had been charged with assault, kidnapping and robbery. CYFs would not take her and a family group conference recommended she live with her uncle.
The woman, named "Joanne", complained to the Ministry of Social Development last year.
Now 27, she says she should never have been placed in the care of a convicted rapist.
The ministry has admitted that at the time there was a gap in policy because it wasn't mandatory for CYF staff to do criminal checks around family placement decisions.
"Joanne should never have gone to live with an uncle who was a convicted rapist and we are very sorry this happened to her," said deputy chief executive David Shanks.
Staff at the time were still expected to assess the caregiver's suitability, he said.
The ministry immediately removed Joanne when she informed her social worker that her uncle had abused her and police were contacted.
Earlier this year it became mandatory to do criminal checks on such placements and there are also a range of safety checks.
Joanne said she was happy with the official apology, but it was a shame she had to make her story public for it to happen.