Over the past three decades a small number of influential writers have bravely attempted to develop theoretical models for understanding and comparing the complex development of child protection systems across different countries. The foremost frameworks have compared the dynamics of child protection arrangements in high-income countries, with little attention being given to middle- and low-income countries and, more specifically, the MENA region. This paper presents Lebanon's child protection model and highlights factors that have led to its unique development in the last 20 years. It contends that Lebanon's child protection system is pluralistic in nature, with responsibilities for the ultimate safety and wellbeing of children diffused among a variety of stakeholders. As a relatively new domain of practice for the state, the protection of children in Lebanon has become implicated in the ever-present national debates regarding the correct balance of authority between state, religion and citizen. A parallel system of decision-making exists with a state-run system struggling to find its place alongside customary religious courts unlikely to relinquish their power over family affairs. Through an examination of Lebanon, the paper aims to further road test the most recent typology and address its applicability to one Middle East country.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2751
JournalChild Abuse Review
Issue number4
Early online date22 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022


  • Lebanon
  • child protection systems
  • pluralism
  • typologies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Law


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