Statewide Paediatric Eating Disorders Services

The Statewide Paediatric Eating Disorder Services (SPEDS), aims to improve the health and wellbeing of children and adolescents experiencing eating disorders. We currently work across sites at:

Who is affected?

Eating disorders affect children and adolescents of all age, gender, ethnicity, culture and family backgrounds.

An eating disorder is a serious mental health condition that affects physical, social and emotional health, has a profound effect on families and society and can be life threatening.

Eating disorders are defined by changes in behaviours, thoughts and attitudes to food, eating, weight or body shape that interfere and detrimentally impact upon an individual’s life.

What are some of the factors?

There are many factors, including genetics, that contribute to the development of an eating disorder. Eating disorders are often a response to trauma, an attempt to regain control and cope with overwhelming negative feelings.

Treatment for eating disorders requires a consistent, evidence-based, flexible, multi-disciplinary approach by specialist teams across outpatient and inpatient settings.

Access to prompt care is paramount as early intervention and weight gain reduces illness severity and improves the chance of an earlier recovery.

Assessment by our team

Our medical teams provide medical assessment and management for children and adolescents following a referral from a health professional. We will work in partnership with your general practitioner to provide medical assessment and care.

Outpatient based appointments are the usual way we treat and monitor children and adolescents with eating disorders. Sometimes, an admission to hospital may be required.

Inpatient care for children and adolescents with Eating Disorders under 18 years of age in the Paediatric Unit (FMC) or in a ward (WCH) are admitted via the emergency department or paediatric clinics.

The multidisciplinary team assessments, for children and adolescents with suspected eating disorders consists of a Paediatrician and/or Registrar Dietitian, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and Nurse Consultant.

Referrals to the service

Statewide Paediatric Eating Disorders Services

The Eating Disorder Team accepts all referrals from General Practitioners and health professionals.

A written referral from a health professional should include the parent/carer contact details, and be sent to or via fax on (08) 7117 8844.

Once the referral is received, the family will be contacted to obtain further information and to provide education. The referrer and/or General Practitioner will be sent a letter once the referral has been received.


If a child, adolescent or guardian is concerned and would like to self-refer, please call the Eating Disorders Team who can provide information about the next steps.

Treatment options

Outpatient treatment for those referred the Statewide Paediatric Eating Disorder Service will be completed either with the Statewide Eating Disorders Service, or Child and Adolescent Mental Health Team.

Regardless of where you receive treatment, the therapy options are the same across the services. The evidence-based treatment options offered are:

Family Based Treatment

Family Based Treatment is the treatment of choice for adolescent anorexia nervosa. Family Based Treatment utilises all family members to support refeeding of the young person diagnosed with an eating disorder in a manner that is non-blaming and acknowledges the family as experts. This is the treatment most often recommended for those under 18 living with family.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Enhanced for Adolescents

For those requiring more individualised treatment, we also offer Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Enhanced for Adolescents (CBT-EA). CBT-EA was designed to treat most forms of eating disorders. Through this treatment young people are supported to identify links between their thoughts, feelings and behaviours in order to overcome unhelpful thinking patterns and modify behaviours. CBT-EA is not a one size fits all treatment, the treatment plan created is highly individualised to match the eating problem of the young person receiving treatment.

While CBT-EA is a more individual approach than Family Based Treatment, families are still seen as key to recovery and will be part of CBT-EA treatment where appropriate.

Information booklet