The death of a toddler who drowned in the bath could have been
prevented by tighter government regulations and guidance for
agencies working with childminders, an independent report said last
Joshua Massey-Hodgkinson died in April 2004, aged 19 months, while
in the care of childminder Wendy Barlow at her home. Barlow had
been drinking heavily.
Lancashire area child protection committee (ACPC) found that child
care regulator Ofsted had not properly investigated Barlow before
registering her as a childminder.
Ofsted admitted it had made a mistake in not discussing information
with Barlow about her drinking that it had received from a health
visitor and a GP.
Joshua’s parents said they would not have asked Barlow to look
after their son if she had not been registered.
Since Joshua’s death the Department for Education and Skills has
taken the ACPC’s recommendations into account and is considering
revising current regulations on childminding.
Barlow was looking after Joshua in hours outside those covered by
her childminder registration.
She was convicted of manslaughter at Preston Crown Court in March
and was sentenced to three years in prison.