'More than 60 young people were sexually abused or exploited after going missing from unregulated homes, the BBC has learned.
Information requests also indicate that missing episodes have doubled in the past three years in England and Wales.
The charity Missing People said the government must "urgently" address the lack of quality placements.
The Department for Education said councils had a duty to make sure accommodation for these children was suitable.
Children over the age of 16, often in care or formerly so, are increasingly being placed in unregulated homes in England and Wales.
Known as semi-independent or supported accommodation, they offer support but not care to residents.
In September, BBC News reported that vulnerable teenagers in unregulated homes face 'organised abuse' while living in such accommodation.
Information requests sent to councils by BBC News indicate that the number of times children and young people have gone missing from unregulated semi-independent accommodation has doubled over a three-year period.
The figures that can be compared from 85 councils suggest missing episodes have increased from 4,656 times in 2015/6 to 10,074 in 2018/9.
In the same period, councils found that 63 young people were sexually abused or exploited while missing from unregulated homes.
Around one in six missing episodes in 2019 featured children already recognised as being at risk from child sexual exploitation.
The BBC has also estimated that police forces spent at least £50m last year in looking for children in care who have gone missing from their accommodation.'
Read more: Care children sexually abused or exploited while missing from homes
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