As a 501c(3) non-profit organization, we wish to expand access to our school for as many families as possible who desire a holistic, developmentally appropriate Waldorf Education for their children. We know how exciting it is to discover the magic of Waldorf, but also how disappointing it may feel if tuition costs appear too high to make enrollment possible.

Fortunately, numerous financial aid options exist to support working families in covering the financial obligation for their children to attend. One of the best programs available is the Employment-Related Day Care subsidy program (ERDC), sponsored by the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS).

In this blog post, we share all about how this incredible program works, and explain what families can do right now to access the funds needed to support their children’s Waldorf education. Accessing this program is a win-win for all parties – new families can join the school, and we can financially support our teachers and staff!


ABOUT – What is Employment-Related Day Care (ERDC)?

The Employment-Related Day Care (ERDC) subsidy program helps eligible working families pay for high-quality child care assistance while they are employed. As of April 1st 2019, the ERDC can also assist families with annual enrollment fees, application fees, and initial registration fees.

The threshold criteria depends on the size of a family and their income level. For example, a family of 4 that makes less than $4,000/mo would qualify and be eligible. Please see the “Income Limit Chart” below for further information.

The ERDC is a subsidy program, meaning eligible families still pay part of the child care cost. However, the ERDC subsidy program can still pay a substantial portion of costs for eligible families, so long as they are enrolled in a DHS-approved school – which includes the Waldorf School of Bend (WSB)!

Under normal conditions, this program can only be used for children up to age 5 and for after school programs; however, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it can now be used for children up to age 12 for the entire day, so long as they are enrolled in registered Emergency Childcare Facilities (ECFs) like WSB.

The ERDC Program is operated via the State of Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS):

ERDC Income Limit Chart (185% of FPL effective 3/1/2020)​*



*Income limits​ during the Governor-declared state of emergency period due to the COVID-19 coronavirus.


COVERAGE – How much will ERDC cover?

The exact dollar amount of covered costs depends on the individual family’s income, size, and the amount the child care provider charges.

DHS has a maximum amount they will pay a child care provider. If the cost of care is higher than the DHS maximum rates, the parent is responsible for the additional costs, plus the copayment. The family pays the copayment directly to the provider. If the copayment is higher than the amount DHS will pay, the family is not eligible for assistance.

Each family has one copayment determined by family size and income. The Copay Estimate tool will help you determine how much you might pay. For example, a family of 4 making $2,000/mo would be estimated to pay a $207 copay, whereas a family of 2 making only $800/mo would be estimated to pay a $34 copay.

The following are basic guidelines that can help families determine if they might be eligible for ERDC.


ELIGIBILITY – To receive ERDC benefits you:

  • Must be an Oregon resident.
  • Be employed. Caretakers/parents must be employed.
  • Both parents must be working in a two-parent family. Exceptions may exist if one parent cannot care for the children due to a medical/mental health condition or in cases where supervised contact is required by Child Welfare.
  • Income must be below 185% of the Federal Poverty Level (See ERDC Income Limit chart).
  • Must have a qualifying child or children. Qualifying children are:
    • Under 13 years of age who need care
    • Age 13-17 who receive care if required by special circumstances
    • U.S. Citizens or qualifying non-citizens
  • Must need child care to remain employed. For a two-parent family this means both parents must have all or part of their work hours overlap.
  • Must use a child care provider that meets DHS requirements. See the ERDC Listing Form and instructions for a list of requirements.


APPLICATION – How to apply:

To become eligible for child care assistance you must complete an ERDC application form. This process can be completed without coming into the office. The application can be mailed to a DHS Self Sufficiency office and an interview conducted over the phone.

Also See: What happens after ERDC is approved



Parent Flyer – This flyer explains the benefits of using a child care provider who is already listed with DHS:

Office of Child Care – OCC is the regulatory agency that licenses child care facilities and conducts background checks on licensed providers. Find information about licensing, the Central Background Registry, Child Care facility complaints and compliance, child care training and more.

We hope you enjoyed learning more about the ERDC subsidy program. Please feel free to contact our front office at (541) 330-8841 or with any questions, and we’d be happy to assist you with this process.