Child, Youth and Family abuse notifications increase in the periods directly after the school holidays, according to statistics.
The Ministry of Social Development numbers also revealed overall notifications for abuse had increased year-by-year. To the year ending June 2006, there were 22,107 call-outs, in 2007 there were 26,960, and in 2008 there were 29,717. A ministry spokesman said the increase was due to increased public awareness of the support provided by CYFS.
The figures indicate the months of March, May, August and October - cited as in-school times - from 2006 to May 2008, show an increase in notifications from the month directly before it. May 2007 had 3340 call-outs - the most for a single month in the statistics the Herald was given. March 2008 had 2678, up 264 from the previous month.
A ministry spokesman said recent figures indicated notifications increased when school returned because the children in question had more contact with other adults.
However, former CYFS caregiver Earl Opetaia, who looked after Liam Ashley before he was murdered in the back of a prison van in 2006, said from his experiences there was more of a problem in the school holidays.
"There isn't enough out there for them to do - the movies and big programmes are too expensive," he said. "When I first started I was only approved for three beds - in some school holidays I had as many as 11 people staying with me."
Marion Spicer, service development manager of Iosis Family Solutions that deal with CYFS referrals, said there was no noticeable increase in school holidays as a lot of people they dealt with were from families with unemployed parents who were home during the day.
She said there was an "enormous problem with working families", however, that was not just in the school holiday periods.
The ministry spokesman said the sporadic nature of 2008 numbers showed there was no single reason for the increase. School holidays in 2008 were from April 18 to May 5. Although May was higher than April, June had the year's highest figure of 2872.
Children's Commissioner Cindy Kiro said parents could do more to stop increasing numbers of drownings, burnings and poisonings that happened to children and ensure their safety.
"I think there is a lot more people can do but it will require a combination of government agencies, local governments and schools to pitch together."
Mr Opetaia said in the end the onus fell on the parents to ensure their children's safety.
"If you are going to have kids you have to roll with all the punches."
While call-outs have increased, actual instances of abuse have decreased. The year ending June 2006 showed a peak in recent years of 44,808. The year to May 2008, however, was down to 36,726.
Categories of abuse include emotional, physical, sexual, neglect, behavioural and self harm. More than one notification can be made for a child if it is done by separate people - a doctor and a teacher for instance. Therefore, figures do not indicate the number of children being abused.