Absence of conflict of interest.
- The study’s objective was to examine the impact of the Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) program on education, employment, earnings, and public benefits receipt outcomes. This profile focuses on the California PROMISE (CaPROMISE) program. The authors investigated similar research questions for other sites, the profiles of which can be found here:
- The study was a randomized controlled trial at the California site. Using participant surveys and administrative data, the authors conducted statistical models to compare the outcomes of the treatment and control group members.
- The study found that CaPROMISE participants were significantly more likely to receive job-related training, obtain job-related training credentials, have paid employment, work more hours, and have higher earnings compared to control participants.
- This study receives a moderate causal evidence rating. This means we are somewhat confident that the estimated effects are attributable to CaPROMISE, but other factors may have also contributed.
California Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (CaPROMISE)
Features of the Intervention
The Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) was a program jointly created by the U.S. Department of Education, Social Security Administration (SSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Labor to provide supports and services to youth with disabilities who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits in their transition to adulthood.
The California Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (CaPROMISE) is one of six programs that make up PROMISE. Starting in August 2014, the California Department of Rehabilitation lead the program and contracted 18 local educational agencies and the San Diego State University Interwork Institute to implement CaPROMISE services. The local education agencies provided career services coordinators to provide benefits counseling and financial education services, career exploration and work-based learning experiences, parent training and information, education services, independent living services, self-determination training, and self-advocacy skills. CaPROMISE youth and their families could also be referred to job coaches, job developers, rehabilitation professionals for career exploration and work-based learning, family resource centers for parenting skills and independent living centers for training on independent living. CaPROMISE served youth between the ages of 14 and 16 who had a disability and received SSI benefits.
Features of the Study
The study was a randomized controlled trial that took place in Northern California, Greater Los Angeles, Greater Inland Empire, and the Southern Coastal Region of California. The authors assigned 3,097 youth into a treatment or control group. The treatment group received CaPROMISE services while the control group received services that were available through their community. CaPROMISE was allowed to nonrandomly assign five youth to the treatment group; however, their data were not included in the analysis. Additionally, siblings of youth who were already enrolled in CaPROMISE were assigned to the same group as their sibling and were withheld from the study analysis. The analytic sample consisted of 834 youth in the treatment group and 800 youth in the control group. The sample was primarily male (67.2%) with an average age of 15.4 years. The largest proportion of the sample were Hispanic (64.2%) and had an intellectual or developmental disability (47.9%). Primary data sources included an 18-month follow-up survey that was provided to youth and their caregivers, SSA administrative records, state Medicaid agency records, and state vocational rehabilitation records. Study authors used statistical models to compare the outcomes of the treatment group and control group members.
Education and skills gains
- The study found that significantly more CaPROMISE participants than control participants received job-related training (32.7% vs. 14.7%).
- The study also found that significantly more CaPROMISE participants than control participants received job-related credentials (7.7% vs. 1.7%).
- The study did not find a significant difference between the groups in school enrollment or obtaining a GED, high school diploma, or certificate of completion during the study period.
- The study found that significantly more CaPROMISE participants than control participants had paid employment during the study period (34.4% vs. 15%).
- The study also found that CaPROMISE participants worked significantly more hours in paid jobs than control participants (1.5 vs. 0.8).
Earnings and wages
- The study found that CaPROMISE participants earned significantly more than control participants during the study period ($1,791 vs. $448).
Public benefits receipt
- The study did not find significant differences between the groups in total income (earnings and SSA payments) or total SSA payments.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
Although the study conducted a randomized controlled trial, it suffered from high attrition due to a subset of the study sample participating in the 18-month follow-up survey. Of the 3,097 youth who were enrolled in CaPROMISE, only 2000 youth were randomly selected to be interviewed for the 18-month follow-up survey. However, the authors did ensure that the groups were similar before participation in the program. Also, the study authors report a less stringent statistical significance level, considering p-values of less than 0.10 to be significant, though it is standard practice to consider statistical significance if the p-value is less than 0.05. Only results that demonstrate a p-value of less than 0.05 are considered statistically significant in this profile.
Causal Evidence Rating
The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is moderate because it was a randomized controlled trial with high attrition, but the authors ensured that the groups being compared were similar before the intervention. This means we are somewhat confident that the estimated effects are attributable to CaPROMISE, but other factors might also have contributed.