Treatment Pathways for Children | Eating Disorders Victoria
Home ~ My recovery journey ~ Treatment pathways for children and young people

Treatment pathways for children and young people

Home ~ My recovery journey ~ Treatment pathways for children and young people

This page provides an overview of the treatment pathways for children, adolescents and young adults in Victoria. After reading this page we encourage you to speak with your GP or leading clinician to determine the most suitable pathway for treatment for the young person involved.

This page also outlines options if you are having difficulty accessing care for your loved on or are on a waitlist for a service.

Treatment overview

After receiving a diagnosis from a GP or other health professional, the next step is starting on an appropriate course of treatment as soon as possible.

Treatment pathways and approaches for children and young people will depend on the age of the individual, the eating disorder diagnosis and the circumstances of the family involved

In general, treatment will involve a combination of the following: 

  • Physical health management and referral coordination (usually through a GP or paediatrician)  
  • Psychotherapy (therapy, counselling or psychological intervention usually through a psychologist, family therapist, psychiatrist or mental health social worker) 
  • Nutritional counselling (usually through an Accredited Practicing Dietitian)  
  • Self-help, for the young person and carers (learning and avoiding triggers, applying coping skills, attending support groups, learning carer skills etc.) 

Sometimes it can be trial and error to find what works best for you or your loved one. It’s important not to give up trying when it comes to treatment. 

If at any time you are unclear about treatment pathways or you are concerned that you are not connected to the right health professionals, please get in touch for a conversation with an EDV Telehealth Nurse.

Please note that all information provided on this page is relevant to children, adolescents and young adults living in Victoria only. Different states have different pathways to access care.  

Option 1: The public health system

The Victorian public health system (CYMHS and CAMHS) is generally well equipped to treat eating disorders in young people with evidence-based approaches. The specialist training of treatment teams and established treatment pathways in the public health system can help guide and support families through what can be a confusing and challenging time. Depending on the service, some individuals can continue to access support up to the age of 25, while others will transfer to the Adult treatment system after the age of 18.

Public health services do not require out of pocket fees for families, making treatment through these services a cost effective option. They also offer multidisciplinary teams, which can include clinicians such as psychologists, dietitians, social workers, psychiatrists and occupational therapists.

For these reasons, EDV often encourage families to explore treatment in the public health system as the first port of call. 



Your local area will have either a CYMHS (Child and Youth Mental Health Service, up to age 25) or a CAMHS  (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, up to age 18). Your GP will likely manage the referral to your local CYMHS or CAMHS team, however you can also self-refer through your local triage line. To find the details of your local service, visit the Victorian Government website here.  

The local CYMHS or CAMHS will coordinate the appropriate treatment for the young person. This treatment may take place in the community (for example at home through Family Based Treatment), or in a hospital inpatient or outpatient program.

Public hospital programs

The following public hospitals provide both outpatient care and access to specialist inpatient care for children and adolescents with eating disorders: 

 The following public health services also have dedicated eating disorder support for children, adolescents and their families:


headspace centres are located throughout Victoria and provide free, confidential mental health support services for young people aged between 12 & 25 years. headspace is often a great starting point for young people who are needing mental health support and can be an entry point into CAHMS and CYMHS services.

To find your local headspace, please see here.

Option 2: The private health system

Treatment for a child or adolescent is certainly possible in the private health system. Treatment models, such as FBT, are available through private practitioners such as psychologists and social workers. The Medicare subsidies available through the Eating Disorder Plan also enable private care to be more affordable for families.

Some private inpatient treatment facilities will start taking patients from the age of 16.

As always, we recommend working with your GP or leading treating clinician to find the treatment setting that will work best for the young person and the family. If you need help finding private practitioners in your geographic area, please get in touch with the EDV Hub.

Common treatment models

Anorexia Nervosa in under 18s

If you are a parent of a young person with a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa, you will likely be introduced to Family Based Treatment (FBT). FBT, also sometimes known as the Maudsley Model, is a treatment approach that has the most robust evidence base for the effective treatment of anorexia nervosa in young people who are still living at home.

Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder in under 18s

Some CAMHS/CYMHS will treat these other disorders, especially when comorbidities may be present e.g. depression, suicidality, self-harm. Private practitioners can also assist here.

Treatment models you are looking for include CBT-E for adolescents, and FBT-BN. All models should include supporting changes to eating/compensatory behaviours as a core component to treatment.

Resources for caring for a young person

Waitlists and delays

The current demand for eating disorder treatment in Victoria has meant that many people are struggling to access care or are on extensive waitlists.

EDV understands the frustration and concern many individuals and families are experiencing due to demand in the mental health system. If you are caring for a loved one and are struggling to access treatment, we strongly encourage you to access the range of services EDV has on offer for carers and families.

With the support of EDV, you can learn skills to support your loved one’s recovery even before they commence formal treatment. Carers, particularly parents, are a vital part of the treatment team of a young person. We can help you feel confident and skilled in your caring role.

Support for parents or carers at EDV

Find out how EDV can support you with our services below:

  • EDV Hub – free, confidential information, service system navigation and support
  • Telehealth Counselling:  Up to five free 30-45 minute sessions with a trained mental health worker, to help carers talk through and manage their carer role and own wellbeing
  • Telehealth Nurse – free service to assist carers with accessing treatment for a loved one, locating specialised eating disorder services and health professionals and provide information and support to help people work towards recovery. 
  • Carer Coaching – 8-week, 1:1 coaching for parents of children aged <18 who have been newly diagnosed with an eating disorder
  • UPSKILL Carer Course – 6-week course designed to provide skills training for families and carers who are playing an active role in refeeding their child.  
  • RENEW Carer Course – 4-week, skills-based course for people whose loved one has been unwell for longer than two years and are not currently participating in family-led refeeding, but who wish to gain and renew skills to support them in their journey.
  • Carer resources page on our website – includes links to factsheets, videos and other support services
  • Carer workshops – EDV runs workshops for carers, focused on wellbeing, coping strategies, and problem solving skills. Please contact the EDV education team at [email protected] for more information.
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