AT least two new children’s homes will be built in Northumberland in the next two years to stop the rising costs of out-of-county care placements.

At last week’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s family and children’s services committee, it was revealed the homes would be created in the county after the authority overspent by £2.6m on children’s services during the 2018-2019 financial year.

It was revealed at the meeting that placing children at sites outside Northumberland was the biggest factor for the substantial overspend. There were currently 36 short-term placements out of the area, of which 34 were anticipated to remain for the year.

A report submitted to the committee predicted another £2m deficit this year.

Cath McEvoy-Carr, the county council’s executive director of children’s services, unveiled the plan for the homes. She said: “There will always be a need to use out-of-county services, but with the market being as it is, it’s a licence to print money almost and we are being quoted some ridiculous prices.”

Coun. Wayne Daley, the cabinet member for children’s services, insisted that the council was going to build at least two, perhaps more, in the near future.

He said that the first two sites had already been identified, but could not reveal the locations at this stage.