Several Oranga Tamariki staff members have been stood down after shocking footage showed young men being tackled and head-locked by staff at a care facility.
Oranga Tamariki acting chief executive Sir Wiri Gardiner told The AM Show on Monday a number of people have been stood down in relation to the incident, but could not confirm how many.
He says the use of excess force in the video, released to Newsroom by a whistleblower on Tuesday, is "totally unacceptable".
The video shows a boy aged around 13 in one of the state child protection agency's Care and Protection Residences being tackled, held on the ground by three staff, his face pushed into a wall and arms twisted behind his back.
"I'm interested in the care and protection of the child and I'm interested in how this happened - my priority is the care and protection of the child and it's clear in this video we have some questions to answer about our duty of care and that's what my priority is."
He says a social worker has been sent to check on the young person involved and Oranga Tamariki is conducting an internal investigation into the incident.
The footage has been condemned by Children's Minister Kelvin Davis who called it "totally unacceptable" and said an investigation into all four residences should be undertaken to ensure it isn't a "system-wide" problem.
"This is what Oranga Tamariki needs to address to make sure that everybody has the skills to be able to work in those environments," said Davis.
"If they don't have those skills then they shouldn't be working there."
He went on to say the units should be closed.
Sir Wiri agrees the behaviour is unacceptable and that the large-scale dormitory-style facilities should be closed.
"He's right...in 2019 the Government agreed Oranga Taariki should move from the large units to small houses so we're in the process of building those in partnership with local communities and iwi."
He told The AM Show he wants them closed "as soon as possible" and if he could do it this year he would.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was equally disappointed after being briefed about the leaked CCTV footage.
"Of course, our priority has to be - in these environments where we have the responsibility for the care and protection of children - to make sure everyone is behaving to the standard we would expect," she told reporters.