Police chiefs have pledged to seek alternative ways of dealing with youngsters to avoid locking them up in cells.
The Howard League for Penal Reform revealed this week that 1,044 children were held overnight in 2011.
Chief Superintendent Rob Odell said work was under way within the force to tackle the number of young people detained overnight.
He said: “South Yorkshire Police is working to reduce the number of young people detained in custody overnight.
“The force works closely with the local authorities and support services to keep the number of children held overnight to a minimum.
“In 2012 our records show that 693 young people were kept in custody overnight and this continues the downward trend from previous years.
“South Yorkshire Police will continue to seek alternative methods of dealing with young people.”