ST. CLOUD (AP) - Some officials in the St. Cloud area say a declining number of licensed foster homes sometimes forces them to seek more expensive care for children.

Both Benton and Stearns counties have reported significant declines over the past few years. A Benton County social worker says the number of licensed foster homes in the county has declined from 21 to 12 in about four years. She says foster care costs for the county have more than doubled in the same period, from about $250,000 in 2010 to over $536,000 so far this year.

One of the reasons there are fewer licensed foster homes is because both parents work, making it difficult for the family to take in a young child.