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The International Day Care Center closed at the end of the summer due to lack of funds and insufficient parent involvement, Brenda C. Brewington, former director of the center, said yesterday.

The center had to merge with the Walden Square Children's Center in North Cambridge because of reduced funds from the Massachusetts Welfare Department, she said.

The International Center was the only Harvard center that primarily served low-income families.

The other University day-care centers cater primarily to children of students and professionals, Harvard child care advisor Frances H. Howe said yesterday.

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The close of the center is a loss to Harvard because the center exposed its children to other races and cultures and helped minority children "build their selfimage" by stressing the importance of minority cultures, Brewington said.

Although other Harvard centers have tried to recruit minority children, many have failed due to "the Harvard stigma," she added.

Some are not so convinced of the International Center's advantages. "It may be better to have minority children diffused rather than in something that amounts to a ghetto," Howe said.

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