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Only about 22 percent of runaways and homeless youths who need help are receiving it from shelters and community programs, according to the preliminary findings of a nationwide survey.

The survey, conducted by the Na-tional Network of Runaway and Youth Services in Washington, D.C., is based on reports from 200 shelters and youth-service agencies across the country.

It estimates that more than 1.5 million young people between the ages of 10 and 18 run away from home each year. About 36 percent of those children report that they ran away because they had experienced physical or sexual abuse at home.

The survey also found that the agencies established to help these youths are "woefully" underfunded, relying on private donations to maintain their sheltering and counseling efforts.

Also, the survey found that:

Staff members of shelters in every state reported that they are seeing an increasing number of young homeless people with severe mental problems.

The states of Hawaii, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania, in particular, are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of children who leave home to escape physical abuse and the number of "throwaways," young people whose parents have asked them to leave home.

Nearly 65 percent of the shelters reported that their home-style facilities are in serious need of capital improvement and renovation.

Vol. 04, Issue 21

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