Promoting Readiness of Minors in SSI (PROMISE)


PROMISE was a joint project with the Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services to promote positive outcomes for children who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and their families. The goal of PROMISE was to improve the provision and coordination of services to promote education and employment outcomes resulting in long-term reductions in the child’s reliance on SSI. The Department of Education awarded cooperative agreements to States to implement PROMISE, and we evaluated the model demonstration projects. The Department of Labor and the Department of Health and Human Services provided support for the project. The States proposed and implemented their own unique models, but all PROMISE project interventions included the following, at minimum:

  • Partnerships among State agencies responsible for programs that play a key role in providing services to the target populations;
  • Family outreach, recruitment, and involvement; and
  • Services including:
    • Case management;
    • Benefits counseling;
    • Career and work-based learning experiences; and
    • Parent/guardian training and information.


We convened a technical advisory panel in December 2011 to help prioritize the evaluation needs of this project. We awarded a contract to Mathematica Policy Research to conduct the national evaluation of the PROMISE projects. The first States began enrolling youths and providing services in the spring of 2014. Project enrollment continued through spring 2016, and services continued through late 2018 (or into 2019 in some States). The evaluation ended in January 2023. Planning, design, and evaluation reports are posted below.

The PROMISE evaluation used an random assignment study design. Eligible youth who agreed to participate in the evaluation were randomly assigned to either a treatment group, which meant they were eligible to receive PROMISE services, or a control group, which meant they were not eligible for PROMISE services but could receive other services available in their communities. Services continued for at least three years in each project. PROMISE States varied in the exact mix service and mode of delivery and are best considered as independent projects. Evaluation activities included focus groups in the first 18 months, a survey of youth and parents 18 months after enrollment, and a survey of youth and parents 60 months after enrollment, all of which informed the process, impact, and cost-benefit analyses.

State(s)/Location(s) Involved: Arkansas, California, Maryland, New York, Wisconsin, Consortium (Achieving Success by Promoting Readiness for Education and Employment, or ASPIRE): Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Colorado, Arizona

PROMISE improved only a few of the primary youth outcomes and the impacts varied by program. Two programs increased youth’s employment rate and three programs increased their income. None reduced the amount of SSA payments youth received during the five-year evaluation period. Over the five-year evaluation period, none of the programs generated positive net benefits across all stakeholder groups. For all programs except ASPIRE and New York, youth and their families experienced a net benefit from participation in PROMISE.