Since 1996, our United Way has served as the fiscal partner and home of New Bedford Community Connections Coalition (NBCCC). Funded by the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF); the mission of the coalition is to take a leadership role within the City of New Bedford in facilitating collaborative strategies to build neighborhood-based networks of family support to prevent child abuse and neglect, strengthen families, and build healthier communities.

    NBCCC works through a philosophy and culture of building off family’s strengths and the promotion of the Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework. NBCCC supports the work of “Patch” which utilizes a community-based child welfare practice model and focuses on families within two identified areas of the city.

    NBCCC is continually working to improve the landscape for families in New Bedford. The coalition is guided by its Advisory Board, which is comprised of a diverse group of passionate community residents and stakeholders listed below. The coalition is currently focusing its work in the following areas:

    Near North End Alliance (NNEA)

    NBCCC facilitates a multi-disciplinary team of individuals and organizations working to address some of the challenges and build on strengths and assets to improve the quality of life within a struggling area of the city. It currently focuses its work in these areas:

    • Ensuring families have access to the supports and services that they need to thrive
    • Ensuring neighborhood youth (including out-of-school youth) have access to the enrichment and recreational opportunities that they need to thrive

    Partners for Foster Care Support (PFFCS)

    PFFCS is a collaborative group working toward the below mission and vision to support local foster children and families. For more information on the group click here

    VISION: Successful & Positive Foster Care Outcomes

    MISSION: To create a positive web of relationships that will ensure children cared for by the New Bedford Area Office thrive while in foster care and into their adulthood.

    Support for New Bedford Strengthening Families AmeriCorps Program (NBSF)

    Beginning in 2019, NBCCC spearheaded the development of an AmeriCorps Program to bring more support to families with children in New Bedford. The proposal for the program was approved by the Massachusetts Service Alliance and the Corporation for National & Community Service in 2020. The program uses the Strengthening Families Protective Factors as its framework. The Coalition Director now provides oversight and support for the implementation of this 3-year program. For more information on the NBSF AmeriCorps, program click here.

    Patch Practice

    Patch is a community-based approach to child welfare practice and a partnership between the DCF New Bedford Area Office, the United Way of Greater New Bedford, and the New Bedford Community Connections Coalition. It is governed by its Leadership Team, which is comprised of representatives from the three partnering entities. The Patch model links the protection work of DCF with the prevention work of family support. The NBCCC and Patch Family Advocate (FA) works to assist two “Patch” units and their families of the DCF New Bedford Area Office. The FA also works with developing relationships with community resources and supports to help create a strong network of support for the units and the families that they support.

    For more information on NBCCC and how to become involved in the coalition, please contact Stan Brajer at or (508)-994-4521 x 106.

    Follow us on Facebook to keep up to date with New Bedford Community Connections Coalition.


    • Esperanza Alejandro-Berube; Manager of Resident Services, New Bedford Housing Authority
    • Katlyn Auty; Director of Business Development, Southcoast Behavioral Health
    • Lucy Canuel; New Bedford Area Director, Massachusetts Department of Children & Families
    • Joseph Cordeiro; Chief of Police, New Bedford Police Department
    • Ashley Eaton; Neighborhood Planne, Office of Housing and Community Development
    • Nicole Heaney, MSW; Associate Professor/Coordinator of Human Services Program; Bristol Community College
    • Pam Keuchler; Executive Director, PACE
    • Renee Ledbetter; Director of New Bedford Shannon Program, United Way of Greater New Bedford
    • Glenn Oliveira; Director of Foundation Programs, Carney Family Foundation
    • Marcelina Pina-Christian; Human Services Coordinator, City of New Bedford
    • John Silva; Community Outreach and Prevention Educator Advocate, New Bedford Women’s Center