Educare: Education, Childcare for Low Income Families

Program provides educational foundation for kids from birth to age 5.

Nicole Rinard remembers learning she was pregnant for the first time at age 15.

"I was shocked and scared," Rinard said. "I didn't know what to do."

Now 16, Rinard is raising two children -- 14-month-old N'Isaiah and 2-month-old Dadrian. Since Rinard is an adolescent herself, her kids are more likely to drop out of high school and serve time in jail than kids of older parents, according to a report by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

But Rinard has hope for her kids' future thanks Educare, an innovative combination of childcare and education Educare, championed by Susan Buffett, daughter of billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

Offered to low-income families, the goal of Educare is to provide a strong educational foundation for children from birth to age 5.

"The long-term return is amazing," Susan Buffett, chairman of the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, said. "I think this is so exciting, because the more kids that we can get into a situation like this, it's going to matter when they go off to school. It's going to matter long-term for everybody. It really will."

Studies show that, on average, by the time children of low income families enter kindergarten, they already face a significant gap in literacy skills -- a gap that often continues to widen as the child gets older. Officials at Educare see closing that gap as a long-term investment.

"Research is pretty clear that investing in these years saves us money in the long run," Gladys Hanes, Educare of Omaha executive director, told "Good Morning America."

Click here to visit the Educare of Omaha Web site.

The initial investment is not a small one, however. Educare's state-of-the-art facilities are completely funded by private donors, but the operational costs, such as teacher salaries and healthy meals, are funded with public dollars.

Private, Public Funds for Educare

To Buffett, it's a worthy use of taxpayers' money.

"If we don't have our children, our young children prepared for school including the social and emotional part of it so that they become good citizens, that impacts all of us," she said. "And then you know what? Your taxpayer dollars start going into prisons and foster care and all this other stuff on the backend that costs more than what it costs to do this. And it doesn't help anybody."

She said her famous father is behind the initiative.

"My dad's been here many times," Buffett said. "He really gets it, and he knows what a big difference this will make."

Rinard said that Educare has already made a difference in her young family.

"I feel great here, because everyone is supportive of me," she said. "I want [my children] to get an education, a great education because I'm going to, so I have to be a role model for them."