CHILDREN’S services bosses in York are set to overspend their budget by more than £600,000, following a sharp rise in the number of children placed in care.

City of York Council says its costs for looking after youngsters have spiralled “considerably” since its financial targets for 2011/12 were set, and the authority is also facing soaring foster-care costs.

A report to be discussed by councillors this week has warned that the council is set to outstrip its budget for children and young people’s services by £608,000.

The council, which has to save £21 million this year, is currently responsible for the care of 255 children, 19 more than in 2010/11, at a cost of £19,693 per child. Officers at the authority say this has created extra staffing costs of £317,000 and an additional legal bill of £132,000.

In a report that will go before the authority’s learning and culture overview and scrutiny committee tomorrow Richard Hartle, the council’s head of finance for the adults, children and education department, and accountant Sarah Kirby, said the number of children in local foster placements had risen to 174 at the end of December, 12 more than the total when the 2011/12 budget was set. This has led to a predicted overspend of £226,000 in that area.

The council also needs to find 20 independent fostering agency beds for youngsters the authority has found hard to place locally, which has also led to potential extra costs of £199,000, however £406,000 in unused grant allocations in other areas, as well as £192,000 in other savings, will be used to help balance the budget.

The report said: “As well as a vacancy freeze and a hold on non-essential expenditure, the directorate is also assessing savings proposals for 2012/13 which could be brought forward in order to help bring the budget back in line by the end of the financial year.”