Even if PROMISE services were not provided randomly, services would not be made available to everyone. Funding for PROMISE is limited, so even if the study were not taking place, not everyone who is eligible could receive PROMISE services. Because funding is limited, the fairest way to choose who will receive PROMISE services—among those who are eligible—is to pick them randomly. That way, everyone has an equal chance of receiving these services.
In addition, because of the importance of determining whether the PROMISE programs actually improve outcomes for youth and their families, this study is being run like a medicine trial. The only way to know whether a medicine is effective is to give it to some people and not to others and then to study the results. The PROMISE study is following this approach. It will randomly assign youth who enroll in the study to two groups, using a process like a lottery. Half of the youth will be eligible for PROMISE services and the other half will not. Running a study like this is the best way to determine whether a new set of services is more effective that the previously existing services.