The paper reports epidemiological and phenomenological investigations of aberrant eating among 347 pre-adolescent children in court-ordered foster and kinship care, in New South Wales, Australia. A quarter of children displayed clinically significant aberrant eating problems, with no evidence of gender or age effects. Two distinct patterns were identified. The first is a pattern of excessive eating and food acquisition and maintenance behaviors without concurrent obesity (termed Food maintenance syndrome), resembling the behavioral correlates of Hyperphagic Short Stature (Psychosocial Dwarfism). Various data suggest this pattern is primarily triggered by acute stress, including maltreatment in care, against a background of complex psychopathology and developmental disabilities. The second is a cluster of pica-type eating behaviors that correlates with self-injurious behavior, and is closely associated with developmental disabilities. The paper includes recommendations for clinicians working with pre-adolescent children in care.