Just one in three local authorities have taken measures to protect young runaways despite government guidelines issued two years ago, according to a survey by the Children's Society.
The findings will be included in a documentary presented by singer Will Young and broadcast on the BBC on 10 November to mark the 25th anniversary of Children in Need. An estimated 100,000 children under the age of 16 run away each year. One in seven are physically or sexually abused while away from home, and one in four sleep rough.
The survey found that only 55 councils had fully implemented their statutory obligations, and another 26 were in the process of doing so. The remaining 69 either failed to respond or have made little progress.