Judge Steeg was honored to be recognized by the Capital Area Branch of the Texas Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers for her work with at-risk students in her truancy court. She received the local chapter’s 2014 Public Elected Official of the Year Award and went on to receive the state chapter’s award in 2015. She was presented the award at the NASW’s State Convention in Galveston, Texas, in April, 2015. Read more of why NASW selected Judge Steeg
“The Public Elected Official of the Year Award recognizes outstanding service and contributions of an elected official who has shown leadership in the formulation of public policy, particularly policies that affect social justice, health care, education, civil and human rights, and social practice.
Judge Steeg’s court is a model of what we, as social workers, want in place for children and their families struggling with truancy.
As you may be aware, in Texas, our Justice of the Peace courts handle truancy cases, the very complex, thorny cases that truly need the help of a social worker, and not just a judge. When Judge Steeg came on board as Justice of the Peace, she identified funding that could be used for truancy case management. She also knew that her truancy cases are symptoms of much larger, more complex issues that must first be addressed in order for these students to succeed in school. Judge Steeg recognized these challenging cases needed more than a visit with a judge in a courtroom, so she hired a social worker! With a social worker on board, Judge Steeg and her team also leveraged the resources of the University of Texas School of Social Work and the Texas State University School of Social Work to develop internship programs for both undergraduate and graduate students. Now, her most challenging truancy cases are tackled not only by her, but also by a licensed professional masters-level social worker and interns.
Judge Steeg has shown a tremendous commitment to the cause of treating the symptoms that lead to increasing school absenteeism, as she used her station as a justice judge to better the lives of young people in her community of Travis County. Judge Steeg’s many procedural innovations have not only pushed the envelope of service delivery, but also have paved a road of proven evidence based practices in this growing field.
Staff that work with Judge Steeg state “we are incredibly lucky that our JP, Susan Steeg, takes the right approach to addressing the complex challenges that cause students to end up in her courtroom”. Judge
Steeg should be commended for her great foresight that introduces 21st century ideas spanning various academic disciplines to an age old dilemma.”