For the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services, December is the lowest reporting month for child abuse. March, on the other hand, is the highest, with more than 7,500 reported cases. Why?
Bill Garcia, deputy regional administrator for the child abuse hot line, calls the March statistics December's backlash.
"Even if families feel overburdened and stressed out [in December], they still want good things for their kids," he says. "Parents who can least afford it overextend themselves emotionally and financially," he says.
"When we go out to homes in February and March, reality has struck back. The bills are rolling in. Food baskets are over. The community has gone back to its routine. There is a tremendous letdown of support."
Garcia encourages parents to seek early intervention. "Include your child in the holidays in a simple, positive way. Relax and focus on the family," he says. Garcia encourages the community to do the same and become aware of families in crisis.