In 2024, Friends of the Children will begin serving youth and families in Eastern Idaho! Our vision is that one day, every child in Eastern Idaho who is at highest risk of the long-term effects of childhood adversity, like foster care, will have a Friend – a long term, salaried professional mentor who stays with them from pre-school through high school graduation, 12+ years, no matter what.

Each child enrolled in the Friends – Eastern Idaho’s program will be paired with a paid, professional mentor called a Friend. For 12+ years, from ages 4 to 6 to high school graduation, Friends work with their youth in schools, at home, and in the community for 3 to 4 hours each week to build skills like problem-solving, perseverance, and self-management. These skills empower youth to pursue and achieve their goals in school and in life. Simultaneously, leveraging our two-generation approach, Friends will empower parents and caregivers to build their own skills as parents, advocate for themselves and their children, and increase connectedness to community resources that improve family stability.


Challenges faced by a community require local solutions. Friends of the Children – Eastern Idaho is its own independent 501c3 with local leadership from board to staff to walk alongside the children and families in Eastern Idaho who need it most.

Interested in learning more about how you can support Friends – Eastern Idaho? Please contact Executive Director Gina Judd at


"With the help of Friends of the Children's courageous and proven model, Eastern Idaho's children will gain the single most protective factor possible: an unconditional, long-term relationship with a stable, trusted, mentor, no matter what. This has the power to uplift their lives, the lives of their family members, and--eventually--the future of our whole community."

- Gina Judd
Executive Director, Friends of the Children - Eastern Idaho


Executive Director, Friends of the Children - Eastern Idaho

Gina Judd, LCPC, has been serving children personally and professionally since adulthood. During her early college years, she studied to become a teacher and used her knowledge in a volunteer capacity as one of a small band of parents who wrote the charter, obtained funding, and led the establishment and early Governing Board for the Pocatello Community Charter School, one of Idaho’s first charter schools, now in its 23rd year of operation.

After establishing the school, Gina changed her educational direction and completed a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in Counseling. She worked for many years helping children heal from the trauma of sexual abuse at Bright Tomorrows, a Child Advocacy Center. From there, she and her husband established a private counseling service where they pioneered neurofeedback services for mental wellness in Idaho, and then she became a Clinician for Children’s Mental Health within the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s Division of Behavioral Health. In this role, she rapidly rose to leadership positions as a YES Program Specialist and then a Wraparound Program Supervisor, where she was instrumental in implementing Wraparound Care Coordination service programs across the state.

Gina and her husband of 33 years have raised five children and served for nine years as therapeutic foster parents, eventually adopting one of their foster children. They also opened their home for seven years to 13 international ESL students and remain in frequent contact with these honorary family members. They currently are enjoying developing newer roles as grandparents to three active and inquisitive grandchildren. Gina is very active in her community and has served for many years as the director of her congregation’s children’s chorus.

Gina’s role as Executive Director of Friends of the Children’s Eastern Idaho Chapter allows her to put into practice her passion for improving the lives of children and their families and magnifies her belief that the best way to change the world is one person and one interaction at a time.


3 Es

92% of youth go on to enroll in post-secondary education, serve our country or enter the workforce.


83% of youth earn a high school diploma or a GED.

Juvenile Justice

93% of youth remain free from juvenile justice system involvement.


98% of youth wait to parent until after their teen years.