Background Countries in the Arab region lack a valid Arabic psychiatric diagnostic interview for children and adolescents. We set out to establish the diagnostic validity of the Arabic version of the Development and Well Being Assessment (DAWBA-Arabic), a multi-informant structured interview for predicting DSM-IV-TR diagnoses. Methods The DAWBA was translated, updated, and administered to 45 participants (child and adolescent psychiatric outpatients and their parents) as part of a clinic registry. Two clinicians, blinded to their respective diagnoses, formulated the DAWBA diagnoses. Participants also underwent a clinical evaluation by a child and adolescent psychiatrist who generated clinical diagnoses according to the DSM-IV-TR. Results Inter-rater reliabilities were.93,.82, and.72 for disruptive disorders, mood disorders and anxiety disorders respectively. Agreement between DAWBA and clinical diagnoses was substantial for disruptive disorders (κ =.0.82) and mood disorders (κ = 0.74), and moderate for anxiety disorders (κ = 0.46). Conclusion The DAWBA-Arabic could serve as a valid and reliable clinical tool for assessing psychiatric disorders among children and adolescents in the Arab region.