Local volunteer retires at 93: ‘I always tried to make a difference’

Behr became child advocate in Greene County Juvenile Court at age 78, after teaching career

A former schoolteacher and volunteer with Greene County Juvenile Court, Sue Behr has dedicated much of her 93 years of life to helping local children.

Behr recently celebrated her retirement as a Court Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA, with Greene County Juvenile Court after she spent 15 of her retirement years advocating for the best interests of children who are in the court system as a result of abuse, neglect or dependency.

In that time, Behr has advocated for 63 children, and her work over 4,436 case service hours have saved the county more than $221,800 in court costs, according to data provided by Greene County Juvenile Court.

“I always tried to make a difference,” Behr said. “Life is funny ... there are a lot of hurdles and a lot of good times. I didn’t give up on any child. We all need someone like that in our lives.”

A retired schoolteacher who worked in Miamisburg Schools, Behr became a CASA volunteer at age 78, following the influence of her second husband of 34 years, Ted, who was also a CASA volunteer.

“I used to help him type his reports — he hated doing that,” she said. “He had good results with the kids. He told me that I should be a volunteer, too.”

Volunteers are highly trained, and assigned to a child for the duration of their case, which usually lasts a year or two, according to court officials. CASA volunteers conduct thorough research to provide a juvenile court judge with background to help the court make a sound decision about the child’s future. The CASA makes a recommendation on placement and services, and monitors both the case and the child until it is resolved.

Behr’s longest assigned child, and her most memorable, was a boy with special needs assigned to her when he was in third grade. Behr worked with him until he was emancipated this year at age 19.

“I worry about my assigned kids, even when the case is completed,” she said. “I wonder where some of them are today.”

Greene County Juvenile Court Judge Amy Lewis described Behr as “always very kind and respectful regardless of how she was treated. She has an even temperament, but wouldn’t back down from anything.”

Greene County Juvenile Court is currently seeking new CASA volunteers. If interested, contact the CASA office at 937-562-4040.

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