Care for Children and Teens

Care for children and teenagers with eating disorders

At Melrose Center, we provide the specialized care needed to treat eating disorders in children and adolescents so they can grow into healthy, confident adults. Our team of licensed psychologists, medical doctors, dietitians and other specialists work closely with you and your child to create a personalized treatment plan based on their needs. With over 35 years of experience successfully treating eating disorders in patients of all ages, we provide the expertise your family needs through recovery and beyond.

Children need different treatment for eating disorders than adults. They need the support of the entire family as they heal, gain confidence and learn new skills around food an exercise. Our goal is to keep your child at home and give them the treatment they need through outpatient care. But in some situations, we may recommend that your child stay at Melrose Center for residential treatment. Our specialized outpatient treatment options include:

Family based therapy (FBT)

Family based therapy, sometimes called FBT, is one of the most successful ways to treat young adults with eating disorders. In FBT, everyone in the family has a role in your child’s treatment and recovery. We might recommend family meals, family therapy sessions and other activities to help your child recover.

There are three phases of family based therapy:

  • Weight restoration – The goal of the first phase is to get your child back to a healthy weight. During this phase, the parents or guardians are in total control of every meal and snack. Many parents make meals family events so everyone can support the child during mealtime.
  • Return of control – Once your child returns to a healthy weight and actively participates in meals, you’ll slowly let them have more control over their meals and snacks.
  • Establishing independence – This is the final phase of FBT which focuses on improving your child’s relationship with food and their independence. You’ll work with doctors to establish a routine and help your child catch up to developmental milestones.

Family Learning Day

We offer full-day sessions where your family will join us at Melrose Center to help your child develop healthy habits around food and learn practical life skills to use at home. You’ll learn alongside other families going through the same thing so you can build a community of support. All meals and snacks are included during the session and will be supported by our team of specialized Melrose staff.

We encourage you to include the entire family. Siblings 12 years old and older are welcome to join.

Sessions are offered throughout the year at our St. Louis Park and St. Paul locations.

Family learning series

Our family learning series is a weekly group session where you and your child can learn more about managing anxiety, developing routines, improving communication, strengthening your relationships and much more. A licensed therapist leads each session. You and other families will listen to each other, learn from your experiences and support each other along the way.

This group is open to adults and siblings who are 12 years old and older. Dinner is included along with guidance and support from Melrose Center staff.

Sessions are two hours long and take place on Thursdays at 5 p.m. at our St. Louis Park location. You’ll attend weekly sessions for four weeks.

Parent and Supportive Others Group

Mondays, 6 to 7 p.m., facilitated by Emily Wacker, PhD, LMFT

Join virtual or in-person meetings at Melrose Center, St. Louis Park.

Eating disorders affect more than the person with the disease. Join this support group for adults who care for loved ones with an eating disorder – and need support and care for themselves. Cameras are required to be on for the duration of the group when joining the meeting virtually. Information about how to join a Teams meeting without an account .

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)