Alan Wood, who led the ADCS in 2014/15, has received the accolade in the New Year's Honours list having previously been awarded a CBE in 2011.
In recent years he has advised the government on a number of children's services issues. In 2016 he was appointed by the government to review local safeguarding children boards and recommending that they be scrapped and replaced with a new system.
Also in 2016 he was appointed by the Department for Education as chair of an advisory group on the role of councils in children's lives, looking at their responsibility for early years, special educational needs and school improvement.
He was also a member of an advisory panel that oversaw a government-commissioned study into the future of children's services, which controversially suggested that councils should be forced to outsource parts of the service, including child protection, to improve standards.
In November last year, Wood was appointed as the first chair of the Residential Care Leadership Board. And he was also last year appointed as a member of the Youth Justice Board, having previously chaired the Youth Custody Improvement Board, which recommended shifting responsibility for commissioning and overseeing the youth secure estate from the YJB to a new body - the Youth Custody Service, which launched last April.
His most recent council role was as director of children and young people's services in Hackney, where he spent 10 years.
Wood said: "I'm very pleased to receive this award. Any light that gets shone on this should also cover so many contributions from others throughout my career.
"If you look at children's services a significant number of leaders have done an enormous amount. I think we should pay recognition to the contribution that many people have made ,who have not yet received an award.
"It must be good for children's services, health and education that people who have been leaders in these areas are recognised at the higher levels of the honours system. It does send a positive message."
Other children's services professionals to receive an award include Nick Whitfield, chief executive of children's services mutual Achieving for Children, which delivers children's services in Windsor & Maidenhead and the London boroughs of Kingston and Richmond.
Whitfield, who has been awarded a CBE, said: "It is a great honour to receive this award. However, I believe that this accolade really recognises the hard work and the huge team effort of all my colleagues at Achieving for Children.
"In difficult financial circumstances and rising demand for services, they work tirelessly every day to improve and protect the lives of children in many boroughs across the country."
Another former ADCS president, Dave Hill, also received a CBE, and campaigner Deborah Brownson received an MBE for her work to help improve support for autistic children and their families.
Meanwhile, Judith Hay, North Yorkshire County Council's assistant director for children and families, has been awarded an OBE for services to child protection.
"I want to congratulate each and every person who has been recognised in the New Year Honours list," Jonathan Slater, the DfE's permanent secretary said.
"The hard work and dedication of the award recipients is helping to improve educational standards and to create opportunities for every young person. They are also essential in unlocking the talent in every community across the country. This is something we should all aspire to."
A full list of those given awards in the New Year's Honours for their work with children and young people can be found here.