Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE): Maryland PROMISE Process Analysis Report

Publisher: Washington, DC: Center for Studying Disability Policy, Mathematica Policy Research
Jun 21, 2018
Authors
Jacqueline Kauff, Todd Honeycutt, Karen Katz, Joseph Mastrianni, and Adele Rizzuto

Key Findings:

  • The Maryland Department of Disabilities (MDOD) was the lead agency for the statewide MD PROMISE program. Representatives from six other state agencies participated on a PROMISE steering committee, which supported and worked collaboratively with the program. MDOD contracted with one organization to provide intensive technical assistance on service delivery to program staff, and three other organizations to provide the following key services to treatment group youth and their families: (1) assertive case management and employment-related services; (2) benefits counseling; and (3) financial education services.
  • Three years into program operations, 92 percent of treatment group youth had participated to some extent in MD PROMISE. Almost two-thirds had participated in an unpaid work experience and almost half in a paid work experience. At least half (and perhaps as many as four-fifths) of participants had received some type of benefits counseling, though the intensity of that counseling tended to be low—typically a single in-person or telephone consultation. Between one-quarter and one-third received some form of financial education. In addition, the program had facilitated linkages to adult service providers for over one-third of participating youth and linkages to post-secondary services or opportunities for an equal number.
  • Even before MD PROMISE began, MDOD had strong working relationships with the state agencies and contractors that subsequently became partners in the program. Those relationships became stronger and collaboration among the partners increased as PROMISE services rolled out.
  • The process analysis suggested that conditions were favorable for observing positive impacts of the program on youth. Most treatment group youth received some key services from the program, control group youth had only limited access to services similar to those MD PROMISE provided, and there was virtually no risk that control group youth received MD PROMISE services. The parents and guardians of very few treatment group youth received employment or other services, however, so the prospects for impacts on those individuals were less favorable.
PROMISE—Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (SSI)—was a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of Education (ED), the Social Security Administration (SSA), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Labor to fund and evaluate programs to promote positive changes in the lives of youth who were receiving SSI and their families. Under cooperative agreements with ED, six entities across 11 states enrolled SSI youth ages 14 through 16 and implemented demonstration programs intended to (1) provide educational, vocational, and other services to youth and their families and (2) make better use of existing resources by improving service coordination among state and local agencies. Under contract to SSA, Mathematica Policy Research is evaluating how the programs were implemented and operated, their impacts on SSI payments and education and employment outcomes for youth and their families (using an experimental design under which we randomly assigned youth to treatment or control groups), and their cost-effectiveness. In this report, we present findings from the process analysis of the first three years of the implementation and operation of the Maryland PROMISE program, known as MD PROMISE. The findings are based on data collected through April 2017 via site visits to MD PROMISE, telephone interviews with and social network surveys of program administrators and staff, and the management information system that the program’s staff used to record their efforts. The report describes how MD PROMISE engaged with youth, the services the program provided to them and their families, and the collaborations the program fostered to support its efforts. It also highlights information about the experiences of control group youth that could have implications for the evaluation’s impact analysis.