PROMISE is an acronym for “Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income.” In 2013, a $32 million dollar grant was given to the Arkansas Department of Education and College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas--which is administering the project over five years. The goal of PROMISE is to decrease the amount of federal funding needed to support disabled teens as they come of age. Presently Supplemental Security Income or SSI is delivered to low and middle income youth who are documented with intellectual developmental, psychiatric, emotional/behavioral, or physical disabilities. At age 18, they are reassessed. Those unable to work are placed on public welfare.
"If we're looking at a cost-benefit analysis as society, if 50 out of the 1,000 program group participants transition off of benefits as adults, then the 5-year research grant pays for itself," said Phillip Adams, the director of Arkansas Promise.