Nearly a dozen states are getting a share of more than $200 million to help improve the long-term prospects of kids with disabilities who receive Supplemental Security Income.

Demonstration projects in states across the country are being developed to offer coordinated services and supports for children receiving SSI benefits with an eye toward enhancing their education and employment prospects.

Ultimately, the federal effort known as the Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income, or PROMISE, initiative is designed to reduce the number of kids on SSI who continue to rely on such benefits as adults.

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“All children deserve a chance to achieve their educational and career goals,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “The PROMISE initiative provides services and support to help our most at-risk students and their families so that they can focus on their education and a brighter future.”

Specifically, the demonstration projects will provide support to SSI recipients and their families so the children can graduate high school, complete postsecondary education and job training and find competitive employment, officials said.

The initiative is a joint effort of the Social Security Administration and the U.S. Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services.

Federal grants totaling over $211 million were awarded for the five-year initiative to Arkansas, California, Maryland, New York and Wisconsin in addition to a consortium of states comprised of Utah, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Colorado and Arizona.

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