Agency head Ray Smith said CYF' />

The Herald is running a week-long series on the smacking debate. Today we focus on the views of Child, Youth and Family Services and the police on the effect of the child-discipline law. To tell us your stories, go to the Your Views discussion. Or you can follow the debate on our facebook page.

Child, Youth and Family Services says a Christian couple are "good parents" even though they smack their children.

Agency head Ray Smith said CYFS "could have done a better job" in the way it handled an allegation that the couple, Erik and Lisa, had abused their 10-year-old daughter Abigail.

The father, Erik, had smacked the girl after she had a "massive meltdown", banging her bunk against the wall and calling her mother "evil".

He said the smack was aimed at her bottom, but she wriggled and he left two red fingermarks on her back.

He said the family were "traumatised" when the agency told them on a Friday afternoon to send their two daughters to stay with friends until social workers had time to investigate the allegation on the Monday.

Mr Smith said the agency "could have done a better job of talking through other options".

"I want to stress that removing children from a home is a last resort and that is not what happened in this case," he said.

"Although this family acknowledged that they sometimes smack their children, [the parents] are loving and protective parents. We quickly closed their case on the Monday and have no ongoing concerns.

"I am sorry that the girls were upset and unsettled by our involvement with their family. I acknowledge that, in this case, we could have given [the parents] better advice on how to explain to their children what was happening."

He said the parents were "good parents", but the agency had been "asked to get involved simply to see whether a family that appeared to be struggling needed our help".

However, Erik said yesterday that the agency got involved not to offer help but to investigate the allegation of abuse, which a social worker described at the time as "critical".