Eating Disorder Treatment for Children & Teenagers

Eating Recovery Center’s Child and Adolescent Services offers comprehensive eating disorder recovery programs for girls and boys ages 10 through 17 — bringing together a highly experienced team of experts to address the physical, psychological and social implications of these illnesses. 

Getting started with treatment

Young patients enter eating disorder treatment at the appropriate level of care she or he needs. This determination is generally based on several factors, including medical complications, acuity of the eating disorder symptoms and past treatment history.

The levels of care for children and adolescents under 18 at ERC include:

As adolescent patients move along the path of recovery, they can step-down to lower levels of care within our comprehensive service offerings. Stepping down to lower levels of care with more autonomy helps patients protect their recovery as they reconnect with their lives outside of eating disorder treatment — by testing their skills in an environment contained with structure and support.

Read about how we meet our patients' educational needs during treatment. 

Family involvement is critical for recovery

A hallmark component of our treatment approach for children and adolescents is our innovative family program; parents are empowered to become agents of change for their young loved ones and help them sustain recovery into the future.

Family-Based Treatment (FBT) is a treatment intervention that educates parents and families about eating disorders and enables them to manage the weight restoration and re-feeding processes until the child or teen can assume responsibility for these tasks (when developmentally appropriate). Contrary to earlier family therapy models that viewed “family problems” as part of the etiology of the eating disorder, FBT considers families to be an essential part of the recovery process, both during treatment and following discharge.

Long-term support for patients and families

Lasting recovery from eating disorders lies not only in effective treatment interventions that engage patients and families alike, but also preparing them to sustain their progress after eating disorders treatment.

To support families in fostering sustainable recoveries following discharge, our Master’s-level Alumni Coordinators work diligently with families, Eating Recovery Center’s eating disorders treatment team and outpatient providers to craft a detailed “plan of action” for continuity of care.

Our Alumni Coordinators are here to help identify and schedule appointments with outpatient eating disorders treatment providers, ensure professionals have full information regarding the treatment the patient has received and discharge plan, and conduct follow-ups with families 30 days, 6 months and 1 year following discharge to see if the aftercare plan is working.

Additionally, families of former child and adolescent patients are able to attend Family Days free of cost as many times as necessary to continue educating themselves on how to effectively support their young loved one’s recovery.

Nutrition services and meals

Nutrition plays a fundamental role in the treatment of an eating disorder in children and adolescents. Young patients’ thoughts and behaviors around food are generally negative and destructive, and many individuals need to restore weight in order to achieve the clarity of mind necessary to fully engage in therapeutic interventions. Even for those patients who are at a normal weight at the time of admission, nutrition exposure and education is critical in addressing issues related to their underlying relationship with food.
 
The nutrition philosophy at Eating Recovery Center emphasizes helping patients overcome their fear of food and eating by providing support and structure during meals, education on a balanced pattern of nutrition and collaborative care to achieve a healthy weight for optimal recovery. More specifically, the nutrition philosophy communicates that there are no good and bad foods and emphasizes balance, moderation and variety.
 
Eating Recovery Center’s team of highly skilled Registered Dietitians works individually with patients at all levels of care to develop a personalized meal plan to achieve weight restoration or maintenance goals, as well as meet any verifiable dietary needs. Dietitians also work collaboratively with the treatment team, participating in daily meetings to support an integrated understanding of each patient’s progress and treatment goals.
 
In addition to individual nutrition counseling, Eating Recovery Center’s Registered Dietitians lead group education sessions and oversee various exposure activities to deconstruct myths around food and offer opportunities to build confidence in real-life food situations. Dietitians also facilitate nutrition education programming for families, as the overarching treatment framework seeks to empower parents to manage weight restoration and maintenance until their young loved ones are developmentally able to assume this responsibility. Parents also learn about strategies for protecting their child’s recovery following treatment.
 
Another unique aspect of Eating Recovery Center’s nutritional approach is that our expert staff of Registered Dietitians, primary clinicians, and family clinicians regularly dine with patients. Because meal times are often stressful and anxiety-provoking for children and adolescents with eating disorders, staff at Eating Recovery Center provide structure and support in order to create a therapeutic meal environment. Staff supervision at meals helps provide the encouragement, redirection of eating disordered behaviors, and role modeling necessary to affect behavior change.

To learn more about each level of care, please navigate through the links below.

Inpatient Program for Children & Adolescents Child and Adolescent Inpatient Eating Disorder Treatment Based in Denver, Colorado, our Child and Adolescent Inpatient program is designed to support children and teens that are acutely ill and are experiencing medical instability as a result of their eating disorder.
Residential Eating Disorder Treatment Program for Adolescents & Children Our Residential program is designed for patients that need 24-hour support, but no longer require the same intensity of medical support and stabilization of Inpatient programming. The Residential program offers round-the-clock observation and support, as well as daytime medical and psychiatric supervision.
Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) for Children & Adolescents Eating Disorder Treatment at Eating Recovery Center Eating Recovery Center’s Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) offers the intensity and structure of residential eating disorders treatment while providing opportunities for patients and families to practice recovery skills outside of the treatment environment during evenings at home or in recovery-focused…
Child & Adolescent Intensive Outpatient Program Intensive Outpatient Eating Disorder Treatment Our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is a flexible program that allows patients to go to school during the day and sleep at home at night, practicing recovery skills in a real-world context.
Child & Adolescent Outpatient Services Outpatient Eating Disorder Treatment Outpatient programming focuses on teaching and practicing the skills necessary for patients to remain healthy and protect their recovery after leaving treatment. Patients can admit directly into Outpatient care, or step down to Outpatient programming from a higher level of care.
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Eating Recovery Center is accredited through the Joint Commission. This organization seeks to enhance the lives of the persons served in healthcare settings through a consultative accreditation process emphasizing quality, value and optimal outcomes of services.

Organizations that earn the Gold Seal of Approval™ have met or exceeded The Joint Commission’s rigorous performance standards to obtain this distinctive and internationally recognized accreditation. Learn more about this accreditation here.

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