Design, Sites, and Data Sources
In September 2003, the Social Security Administration funded YTD projects in seven locations: two in New York and one each in California, Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, and Mississippi. As interest in a national impact study grew, it was determined that three of these original projects (the two New York projects as well as the Colorado project) would be able to participate in a random assignment impact study. A separate selection process identified three additional projects to participate in random assignment (in Florida, Maryland, and West Virginia). These six projects were the subject of the national impact study. The projects served different types of young people and provided different services, but most partnered with several local organizations and offered counseling, service coordination, and family support.
Young people in each location were assigned to a treatment group, which received enhanced project services and disability program waivers, or a control group, which received only those services that would have been available in the absence of the project. The evaluation collected administrative and survey data on treatment and control group members at the time of random assignment and periodically for four years thereafter, and analyzed those data to determine the projects’ effects on paid employment and earnings, total income from earnings and benefits, participation in productive activities, contact with the justice system, and self-determination. The evaluation also studied the implementation of the projects and analyzed their benefits and costs.