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Child, Youth and Family (CYF) has finally apologised to parents of girls targeted by two Whangarei brothers on a "sex list".

The pair, aged 11 and 13, outlined in the list what sexually explicit things they wanted to do to certain young girls.

The list was passed in August 2006 to a CYF social worker by the boys' mother, but nothing was done about it for over a year, the Northern Advocate reported.

A number of girls on the list were allegedly molested.

One man whose daughter was targeted told the paper at least 28 girls were allegedly abused or targeted by the boys whom he described as "sexual predators".

Police had at one stage said an allegation of the boys touching a girl through her underwear was "minor" offending and low priority.

"I'm thinking to myself, 28 girls? What is top priority then?"

When CYF did decide to act, it used a community meeting to let parents know what was happening.

Deputy CYF chief executive Ray Smith said this week the social worker in the first instance might not have taken the list seriously enough.

He agreed the department didn't act fast enough and had let down the girls and their families.

"I think the social worker...looked at a list and wasn't sure whether these were the acts of fantasy, a game of two boys," Mr Smith said.

He also said in hindsight a community meeting was not the right forum to report back on the case and that the families should have been personally contacted.

Mr Smith said he apologised over the handling of the situation and the length of time taken to address it.

"I've asked for a full review of this case by the chief social worker to identify where individual accountability should sit."

Police said the matter was still under investigation.

- NZPA