Childhood Eating Disorders Treatment

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We have never taken for granted the sacred trust you place in us to care for your child, and today we are more grateful than ever for that privilege. To learn about all the ways we are working to keep you, your family and our team members safe, visit our COVID-19 updates page.

Childhood Eating Disorders Treatment

The Center for Pediatric Eating Disorders

If your child has an eating disorder, they need the best treatment available. Our nationally recognized team helps kids and teens manage eating disorders, prevent serious physical and emotional problems and get on a healthier path.

Children’s Health℠ offers the nation’s only pediatric program that has earned the Joint Commission’s Disease-Specific Certification for eating disorders treatment. This means we have expertise in helping children like yours.  Every year we help hundreds of boys and girls from all types of backgrounds overcome eating disorders to become stronger and healthier.

Treatments and Services

  • Psychotherapy
  • Day treatment
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Medication management
  • Therapeutic school
  • Behavioral programs
  • Group therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Recreation therapy
  • Music therapy

Specialized care for your specific need

We offer several levels of care to match your child’s needs:

  • Inpatient hospitalization, for children who are significantly underweight or have medical problems caused by their eating disorder. Most inpatients stay in the hospital for 12 to 14 days.
  • Partial hospitalization, for children who would benefit from supervised meals, a lot of care and support, and who are not at their ideal body weight. We use a personalized meal plan to gradually increase your child’s eating. Children in this program stay at the hospital during the day and go home to sleep.
  • Intensive outpatient program, to help children maintain their weight even while they are back at school and attending activities in the community. We provide in-depth counseling and meal plans that will help you establish healthy routines over time.

We’ll work with your child to understand their eating disorder. Then we’ll create a custom care plan, tailored to their unique needs, to help them overcome it. Our program includes

  • Individual child therapy to address eating behaviors, stressful or traumatic events, and how your child feels about their life and their body.
  • Group therapy to help children and teens feel less alone and to develop coping skills to manage stressors. We have separate groups for younger children and teens.
  • School support to make sure children stay on track with school. Our certified teachers work with your child for two hours a day.
  • Family therapy to make eating as a family a positive experience. We help you better understand your child’s emotions and struggles. And we help you with communication skills that will last a lifetime.
  • Experiential therapy to give children safe, creative spaces to express their feelings. Talk therapy can be hard for kids, especially if they tend to hold their feelings in. Our skilled art therapists, music therapists and recreational therapists help kids connect to their bodies and cope with strong feelings.
  • Meal planning to create personalized, nutritious meals for your child. Our dietitian works with a doctor to create your child’s meal plans and make sure they’re eating enough. 
  • Meal education to teach parents more about nutrition, calories, preparing meals, and what to say (or not say) during meals.
  • Parent education classes to help you sustain positive changes for years to come. We teach you more about your child’s condition so you know what to expect and when to get more help. You’ll also benefit from the encouragement and wisdom of other parents. They’ll help you believe you can get through this.
  • Medication management to help with other problems some children face like anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, self-injury or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
In your time here you'll make new friends, learn things about yourself and gain back your true self.
Former Patient

Proven expertise and leadership

We have over 30 years of experience treating eating disorders. We are proud to say that only 5% of children that go through our inpatient programs need to be hospitalized after they’re discharged. The national average is around 25%.

We host an annual eating disorder symposium, and many therapists and doctors in the region look to us to learn more about eating disorders. Our team is also committed to training the next generation of eating disorder health care providers.

Inclusive care

Our goal is to help as many families and children as possible. We recognize that not all families eat the same foods, or have the same values or body ideals. We work with families to create personalized plans that fit their values, preferences and budget. We also provide interpreters for families that need them.

Statistics show that transgender children are at a much higher risk for eating disorders. We have the training and expertise to help children who fall anywhere on the gender or sexuality spectrum feel more at home in their bodies and in their families.

Care for all aspects of your child’s health

We use a holistic lens to treat your child. This means we tend to all aspects of your child’s health, giving them the care they need to heal their minds and bodies.

The Eating Disorders Program is a part of the Psychiatry and Psychology Department. Our highly trained psychologists and psychiatrists have decades of experience treating eating disorders and other mental health issues that may play a role in a child’s overall well-being.

We also have experience in caring for all types of medical needs. If a child has diabetes, is in a wheelchair or has heart problems, we have the expertise to treat those problems alongside an eating disorder.

Transformative, meaningful relationships

We know the fear, loneliness and distress that families and kids with eating disorders experience. And we know the transformative power of connecting kids and families to other kids and families who’ve “been there.” When families first come to us, they get a personalized note of encouragement from a child that’s completed the program. We also bring graduates back to share their journey of “getting their life back” with new families. Parents often send us notes years later, expressing their gratitude: “Thank you. I never thought my child would graduate from college.”

Meet the Care Team